So, a representative of a university you like will be visiting your high school. Try this: Grill your high school counselor about the session rules and setting. Research the college to ensure you aren’t wasting your time and know enough to avoid wasting theirs. Have a list of useful questions. Be prepared to comport yourself well and courteously. Vie for an opening to present yourself one-on-one. It’s about trying to figure out what to expect when a college rep visits your high school and positioning yourself to make the most of the experience.
Benefits of Connecting with a College Rep During a School Visit
Everybody is shopping and selling when college reps visit high schools. Students are selling themselves and shopping for a college. The reps are selling students on a school and shopping for students who fit their colleges.
The reps primarily will be sharing facts on the application process, tuition, fees, financial aid, academics, campus life, and services. And they’ll be taking questions.
If a rep from a school of interest is headed your way, check off all the to-do’s in the opening paragraph of this blog, show up a little early, and linger after the presentation. Your goal is to get some one-on-one time with the representative that will allow you to:
- Demonstrate interest in the school, which is an admissions metric for some colleges.
- Begin building a relationship you can leverage if you initiate the application process.
- And, if possible, present your academic history for a quick evaluation and response.
What Can You Expect if a College Rep Does Visit?
There are lots of variables affecting visits. How much time will there be? How many students will be present? Will the rules allow for an exchange of information beyond names and telephone numbers? You can’t control the variables, but you can be prepared to fully engage if circumstances and the school rep allow.
To help put you in a comfort zone when you meet reps, let’s explore their mindset. A bit of inside information might help.
Hobsons, which markets the Intersect digital platform to educators, offers a College Admissions Counselor Travel Toolkit that has these tips for reps:
- Promote your event to maximize participation.
- Schedule adequate time to meet with students and counselors.
- Allot enough time to build and nurture relationships.
They want you there. They want you engaged. When college representatives visit your school, they recommend you take advantage of the visit to ask questions and get the answers you need.
5 Tips to Help You Make a Rep’s Visit Work for You
Interacting with reps can help you build a productive college list suited to your needs. Make the most of the sessions by:
4) Presenting your best self. Be courteous. Be confident. Be attentive. Turn off your cellphone. Dress thoughtfully. Ask questions designed to inform, not impress. Send a brief thank-you note afterward. The written thank-you is a class move that can boost your visibility.
3) Showing up early. If you’ll be one of many students, getting there early and staying a few minutes after the presentation can make productive facetime with the rep more likely.
2) Taking notes and grabbing brochures. There will be a lot of information coming your way. Make the most of it.
1) Engaging on a personal level. Introduce yourself with a handshake. Get names (spelling matters) and contact information. If your school says the rep might be able to review transcripts, applications, or application essays, ask the rep for a quick evaluation.
Remember: The rep you impress might be part of the application review process at your dream school.
Questions Worth Asking During the Visit
Asking probing questions will inform and guide your choices. It also can help convince the rep you are a serious, thoughtful person worth enrolling. Here are some options:
- What is your school’s reputation built on, and does that reputation reflect the school’s mission statement?
- What academic programs is your college known for, and how difficult would it be to enroll in the ones that interest me?
- What financial aid opportunities does your school provide, and what is the average amount of the aid package?
- How would you describe the academic pressure and workload?
- What is the ratio of instructors to students, and are the instructors readily available for interaction outside the classroom?
- Can you list some campus life facts and amenities that make your school stand out?
- What are the rules governing freshmen’s course selection, and are most courses readily available?
- Can you name some of the important support services for students and graduates?
- What is the application success rate?
- Is there anything you can share about your school’s application process that can help me succeed if I apply?
What if Your School Fails to Attract Reps from Colleges of Interest?
If the right college reps don’t come to your school, you can go to them. The National Association for College Admission Counseling is one of many groups that can connect you with college fairs in your area.
These fairs offer many of the same opportunities as a session at your high school, and you’ll be able to explore more targets.
Ultimately, rep visits and fairs are designed to connect you and the most important assets in the school search, college admissions offices.
The USF Office of Admissions is devoted to finding people suited to life at a Preeminent State University and making the application process as easy as possible.
About Joe Emerson
Joe Emerson spent 30 years as a magazine and newspaper reporter, editor and copyeditor who turned to freelancing after 20 years with The Tampa Tribune, which closed in 2016 after 125 years of serving the Tampa Bay area. Writing and delivering valuable information remain his passion.