‘Tis the season for college presentations at high schools throughout the country. College admission representatives pack their bags and travel around for weeks on end visiting high schools, attending college fairs, interviewing prospective students, and connecting with high school counselors. In my time as an admissions counselor, I would routinely visit 4-5 high schools per day and attend a college fair each night. That meant I was often meeting hundreds of students daily and thousands over the course of my travel season. Needless to say, the representatives you’ll meet at events will be tired, so here are some tips to help you stand out while also making their jobs easier.
Learning about the visits:
- Be sure you are on the mailing list for every college you plan to apply to this fall.
- Check your emails regularly and watch out for messages from your colleges. Pay special attention to event invitations or notifications of visits to your high school.
- Stop by your school’s counseling office regularly and pay attention to morning announcements to make sure you don’t miss any opportunities.
- Register for events in advance, if possible. Sometimes you can do this through the college, Naviance, and/or you can do this in your high school’s counseling office.
- Be sure you’ve gotten the okay from your teachers if you need to miss class. Note: I wouldn’t suggest skipping a test or important presentation.
On the night before the visit:
- Brush up on the college! Review any notes you’ve taken as you’ve researched the college. The representative will cover the basics but it is good to have some information before the meeting.
- Jot down 2-3 questions you have about the college and be ready to ask them at the end of the presentation (if the representative doesn’t already cover that information).
- Print your resume, if you have one.
On the day of the visit:
- Be mindful of your clothing. No, you don’t need to dress up, but today isn’t the day to wear that scandalous shirt or a college sweatshirt from another school.
- Show up on time (or early if possible). The best opportunity for one-on-one time with the admission representative will be before the presentation even begins. This is a great time to hand over your resume, if you have one.
- Sign in. Be sure the representative knows you attended the presentation. This is especially important as many colleges track “demonstrated interest” in their admissions process.
- Pay attention. Nothing annoys a representative more than students talking during the whole presentation or, even worse, students taking a nap. I’ve seen it all.
- Ask your questions during one-on-one time or at the end of the presentation.
- Take a business card from the representative and follow-up with a short “thank you” email within a week of the visit. If you were able to chat with the representative one-on-one or ask questions during the presentation, reference those interactions to help jog their memory.