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College Interviews

Preparing for college interviews makes an enormous difference in the abilty to get the right messages across to the admissions staff. Students can make a strong impression, which may significantly improve their candidacy. Preparation and practice are key. Some colleges have difficult and thought provoking questions while others just want to see if you would fit into their school’s culture. We can teach you these skills which will help you throughout your life.

Colleges that Require or Strongly Recommend Interviews

Class of 2022  from: College Kickstart LLC

Institution Interview Importance Demonstrated Interest
Adelphi University Strongly recommended Considered
Agnes Scott College Strongly encouraged Considered
Allegheny College Strongly encouraged Important
Berea College Required Considered
Bowdoin College Strongly encouraged Not Considered
Brown University Required Not Considered
Bryn Mawr College Strongly recommended Not Considered
Case Western Reserve University Strongly suggested Considered
Christopher Newport University Strongly encouraged (required for PLP or Honors Programs) Important
Claremont McKenna College Highly recommended Not Considered
College of the Atlantic Strongly encouraged Considered
College of the Holy Cross Highly encouraged Considered
Connecticut College Highly recommended Considered
Cornell University Required for Architecture and available for Hotel Administration Not Considered
DePauw University Highly recommended Considered
Drew University Strongly recommended Considered
Florida Institute of Technology Highly recommended Important
Georgetown University Required Not Considered
Hampden-Sydney College Strongly encouraged Considered
Hamilton College Strongly recommended Considered
Hamline University Strongly encouraged Considered
Hillsdale College Highly recommended Very Important
Hobart and William Smith Colleges Strongly recommended Considered
Juniata College Highly recommended Considered
Knox College Strongly recommended Considered
Marlboro College Required Important
Mills College Highly recommended Not Considered
MIT Strongly recommended Not Considered
Morehouse College Required Very Important
Muhlenberg College Strongly encouraged (required in some cases) Considered
Point Loma Nazarene University Strongly recommended Considered
Sacred Heart University Strongly encouraged Important
Saint Johns College – MD Strongly recommended Important
Saint Johns College – NM Strongly recommended Important
Skidmore College Strongly recommended Important
Smith College Highly recommended Not Considered
St. Lawrence University Highly recommended Considered
University of Rochester Highly recommended Considered
University of Tulsa Strongly suggested Important
Wake Forest University Strongly encouraged Considered
Washington and Lee University Strongly recommended Considered
Wesleyan University Highly recommended Not Considered
Wheaton College – MA Strongly recommended Important
Whitworth University Required for applicants with 3.0+ GPA who do not submit test scores Considered
Yeshiva University Required Considered
girl blogging on computer

Colleges Check Your Social Media

What does that mean to you?

Carolynn Crabtree, President of Cornerstone Reputation shares these statistics:

  • 67% of admissions officers surveyed searched for applicants on Facebook during the 2014­ – 2015 admissions season
  • 40% found content about the applicant that left a negative impression
  • 53% found content about the applicant left a positive impression
  • 81% of schools surveyed have no formal policy on searching for applicants on social media
  • 22% of admissions officers believe that an applicant could gain an advantage in the admissions process by building a positive online presence

Be careful what you post and check if your social media accounts are open to the public.

Are you tagged on friends’ posts?

Are you drinking? You are underage.

What are you posting and reposting on Twitter?

Are you “following” a college’s social media accounts? If so, your account is open and easy for colleges to access.

Pay attention to what your friends write on your accounts. That also says a lot about you. Change your settings so that you have to approve every comment.

Aggressive language and unpleasant comments reflect badly on you. Avoid posting with this tone.

Use social media to your advantage during the college application process.

Admission officers are impressed when they see your talents on social media. You could showcase an article, performance, or award, or show your involvement through community service or as part of a team.  Some colleges allow you to send links with your work directly to them. Whether you blog, are a photographer, play an instrument or sing, make sure the content is high quality. See the article on Music and Art Supplements for more information.

These days many colleges assess your interest in them before deciding whether to admit you. See my article Demonstrate Interest for details.

Athletes are checked most often to discern their character and lifestyle.

Most coaches are already online looking at profiles and accounts that you’ve sent to them.

Coaches want to know about your personality and if you will be a good addition to their team socially, as well as athletically.

You can make your social media accounts work to your advantage. Think before you post or tweet! Promote yourself. Show your best characteristics.

Connect with colleges that you like on social media to show your interest. Be very careful to never say anything negative on your social media about a college. Colleges track this carefully and it can take you out of the running.

Start an About.me homepage and when schools Google you this will come up. No friends can comment on it. You have full control. 

Start a LinkedIn page and connect with the college’s admissions rep for your area. That sets you apart in multiple ways.

 

 

 

College Acceptances for 2018

This was another wonderful year for my 20 seniors. As a cohort they received over $4,000,000 in merit aid offers which is the highest amount yet for Annapolis College Consulting. One student received a full ride scholarship valued at $232,000, and two different students received over $700,000 in merit aid offers. On a per college basis, these students received an average of $61,000 from the colleges which offered merit aid. The colleges that they applied to were quite diverse, from University of Alaska to NYU, University of Southern California to Cornell, University of Santa Cruz (whose mascot is the banana slug) to Notre Dame, University of Chicago to Eckerd. Happily, every senior who applied to University of Maryland was accepted, which keeps my long running track record for this institution.  The majority of students got into their first-choice college, and many received acceptances to every college that they applied to.

General trends that I saw this year are that many more colleges asked students for school specific essays, and that small liberal arts colleges offered larger merit aid awards. Many students who applied to private institutions received over $100,000 in awards from these colleges. This shows me that private colleges are aggressively trying to attract more qualified students. Most public universities sharply decreased awards of merit aid, probably due to funding issues and increased applications.

Every year gaining admission to well known “brand name” colleges becomes more difficult as students vie to outdo each other in many arenas. The reassuring news is that Annapolis College Consulting students were accepted into these colleges while seniors with similar statistics were denied.  For Ivy League schools, this year’s admissions cycle had the lowest acceptance rates in history at almost all universities. These colleges also changed their institutional admissions priorities and accepted more first-generation college students as well as increased their demographic diversity.

These are the 91 different colleges that students were accepted to this year:

Alleghany
American
Bellarmine
Boston U.
Brandeis
Butler
Catholic
Christopher Newport
Clemson
College of Charleston
Concordia
Converse
Cornell
DeSales
East Carolina
Eckerd
Elon
Endicott
Florida Southern
Florida State
Fordham
Franklin & Marshall
Furman
George Mason
George Washington University
Georgetown
Georgia Tech
Gettysburg
Goucher
Hampton
High Point
Hollins
Jacksonville U.
Johns Hopkins
Lipscomb
Loyola New Orleans
Loyola of Maryland
Manhattanville
Marian U.
McDaniel
Merrimack
Miami U. of Ohio
Moravian
Mount St Mary’s
NC A & T
NC Wilmington
New York University
Ohio Wesleyan
Penn State
Pepperdine
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Roanoke
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rutgers
Salisbury
San Diego State U.
Seton Hill
Shenandoah
Spellman
St. Francis U
St. Johns Annapolis
St. Mary’s College of Maryland
Stevens Institute of Technology
Susquehanna
Sweetbriar
Thomas Jefferson
Towson
Tulane
U. of Alaska Fairbanks
U. of California San Diego
U. of California Santa Barbara
U. of California Santa Cruz
U. of Chicago
U. of Indiana, Bloomington
U. of Maryland
U. of Miami
U. of Notre Dame
U. of Oregon
U. of Richmond

U. of Southern California

U. of South Carolina

U. of Tampa

U. of Virginia
U. of Washington
UNC Wilmington
Virginia Commonwealth U
Washington College
Washington State
Wofford
Xavier
York

 

 

 

Demonstrate Interest!!

Students need to show colleges that they are interested in attending by doing more than just filling out the application.

The college landscape has changed significantly in the last few years and decisions are made based on big data. What does that mean to you? Colleges are trying to have more students apply because it helps their standing in U.S. News and World Report. Once they have all their applications, they need to determine which students will actually attend, versus which students see them as a safety school, or even fifth on their list (this ratio also helps their ranking because unless they are a big state college, they care about who accepts their offers).

What should you do to look like an interested applicant?

Please note: This does not apply to many large state colleges who generally do not track this.
First, if you live within 4 hours of a college they want you to visit the school and take the tour. If haven’t visited the college, you should consider visiting before your application is due.

Here are a number of ways to show interest to the admission office:
•    Request that the college sends you information. Then open every e-mail that they send because they track that.
•    Find out, by a phone call or e-mail, when your admissions representative will be in your area so you can meet with them. Attend admissions talks and ask the admissions officer a pre-rehearsed, thoughtful, intelligent question, so that they remember you. Ask for their business card and be sure to follow-up.
•    See if representatives are coming to your school for an official visit and attend the session. Afterwards shake their hand, get their business card, ask your pre-rehearsed question, and send them a follow-up e-mail.
•    Clean up your social media and then “like” / “follow” them on Facebook or Twitter.
•    See if the college offers interviews and schedule one. Please meet with me to review interviewing techniques before you have it.
•    If you play a sport, contact the coach and let them know about your interest.
•    Submit an art or music supplement. Ask a real questions which cannot be answered by looking on the website.
•    If a college is your first choice school, let admissions know in an e-mail, and tell them why it is a great match for you.

Some colleges track every interaction that you have with the school, spend your time wisely and let the colleges know that they are important to you.

Here is a list of Colleges Where Demonstrated Interest is Important or Very Important

From: College Kickstart LLC

Institution State Demonstrated Interest
Allegheny College PA Important
American University DC Very important
Assumption College MA Important
Auburn University AL Important
Augustana College IL Important
Austin College TX Important
Bates College ME Important
Bentley University MA Important
Boston University MA Important
Brandeis University MA Important
Butler University IN Important
California Baptist University CA Important
Christopher Newport University VA Important
College of Wooster OH Important
Cooper Union NY Important
DePaul University IL Important
Dickinson College PA Very important
Eckerd College FL Important
Elmira College NY Important
Emmanuel College – MA MA Important
Evergreen State College WA Important
Fairfield University CT Important
Florida Institute of Technology FL Important
Florida Southern College FL Important
Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering MA Very important
High Point University NC Important
Hillsdale College MI Very important
Ithaca College NY Very important
Kansas State University KS Important
Kenyon College OH Important
Lehigh University PA Important
Louisiana Tech University LA Important
Loyola University Chicago IL Important
Marlboro College VT Important
Marymount California University CA Important
Marymount Manhattan College NY Important
Merrimack College MA Important
Michigan State University MI Important
Morehouse College GA Very important
New College of Florida FL Important
Notre Dame de Namur University CA Important
Oglethorpe University GA Important
Pratt Institute NY Important
Quinnipiac University CT Very important
Reed College OR Important
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute NY Important
Roanoke College VA Important
Roger Williams University RI Important
Sacred Heart University CT Important
Saint Johns College – MD MD Important
Saint Johns College – NM NM Important
Samford University AL Important
Seattle University WA Important
Seton Hall University NJ Important
Skidmore College NY Important
Soka University of America CA Important
State University of New York – Environmental Science and Forestry NY Very important
Susquehanna University PA Important
Syracuse University NY Very important
Trinity College CT Important
United States Air Force Academy CO Very important
United States Military Academy NY Important
United States Naval Academy MD Very important
University of Arizona AZ Important
University of Dayton OH Important
University of Massachusetts – Amherst MA Important
University of North Carolina – Asheville NC Important
University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley TX Important
University of Texas – Tyler TX Very important
University of Tulsa OK Important
University of Wisconsin – La Crosse WI Important
Wabash College IN Very important
Washington College MD Very important
Washington University at St. Louis MO Important
Webb Institute NY Very important
Western Washington University WA Important
Westmont College CA Very important
Wheaton College – MA MA Important

College Search and Graduation Websites

College Search

Go See Campus provides a free college trip planner, college reviews, student advice, and more.

College Navigator is a free consumer information tool designed to help students, parents, high school counselors, and others get information about over 7,000 postsecondary institutions in the United States – such as programs offered, retention and graduation rates, prices, aid available, degrees awarded, campus safety, and accreditation.

The University & College Accountability Network is designed to offer prospective students and their families concise, Web-based consumer-friendly information about the nation’s private, nonprofit colleges and universities in a common format.

You University – Video of colleges that you can view to get a feel for each college to see what it offers and if it interests you. Very helpful before you plan a trip to a college far away.

Rate My Professors: Having a great teacher makes a big difference to many students, not just during the class, but afterwards as well. This is a way to view what students are saying about their professors. As with any site which offers only personal opinions realize that there will be some students looking to vent about an issue or person.

College Niche is totally student written and provides their opinions to the questions many prospective students want to know, such as the quality of the dining hall food, whether a school has a good night life, and many other non-academic interests. Don’t believe everything you read, but it is another data point to consider.

Unigo provides reviews, videos, and photos that have been created by students at colleges across the country.

CollegeData allows you to search for colleges that match your personal preferences or by college name, then provides profiles for each of your search results.

College Scorecard designed by our government to provide better insight on how well colleges are serving their students when it comes to access, affordability and outcomes post graduation.  The cost of college however is based on students receiving financial aid and is therefore misleading. With nearly 2,000 data points for 7,000+ schools in the underlying database, there’s a lot of information covered.

Colleges that Change Lives is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to educating prospective college students and their families about making college choices that are a good fit for the individual needs of the student.

 

8 Programs which are Linked to Student Success

First-Year Experience

First-year experience programs has been shown to improve Freshman retention rates. These classes bring together smaller groups of students with caring faculty to improve student success while studying an interesting subject. It allows students to bond closely with a faculty member as well as their peers and to integrate more successfully into college. This aids students in understanding the new environment and gives opportunities to ask about issues, which reduces a student’s anxieties in this new, more rigorous environment.

Undergraduate Research and Creative Projects

Students do intensive and self-directed projects in an area of their interest, while being mentored by a faculty member. These students are able to produce scholarly papers or projects that help them grow academically and mature. Many times these works are displayed on campus or the student is given the chance to present them in a professional setting off campus.

Small Interactive Classes

Lectures can be very beneficial, but having the chance to speak in class, present findings, and have an opinion is even more important. We want students to think for themselves rather than just repeat what they learn. College is a fabulous place to better understand yourself and flourish because your opinion is listened to and respected by peers and professors.

Internships

It is incredibly important for students to have the opportunity to try a career that they think might interest them before they spend years pursuing it academically. Internships not only give students a chance to learn about an industry or academic area, but also give them the ability to make their resume much stronger when they are ready to get a job or continue to graduate school. Applying your learning to the real world allows it to have more depth and meaning. Sometimes internships are conducted with close supervision of the school or through summer jobs. Schools should have strong career departments that can set students up with numerous internship opportunities.

Study Abroad

Our world is fascinating, take advantage of this opportunity. College is the perfect time to experience the nuances of different cultures and immerse students in new and foreign environments. Studying abroad allows students the chance to mature and view the world differently. 

Strong Writing Programs

We still communicate extensively through writing, so one’s ability to do so coherently can make the difference between a successful or mediocre career. Writing is important not just in business, but in personal interactions outside of the business world. Curricula that emphasize writing through mandatory classes and insist on competence are high on my list.

Senior Capstone Project

In these projects, students’ education culminates in the creation of a project that integrates what they have learned over four years in an area of interest that they want to pursue. The choice of the project and how it is presented is up to the student and their mentor. It can be a performance, a scholarly paper, a thesis, art work etc. These allow students the chance to shine and be fully responsible for the project’s outcome.

Service Learning

Helping others not only improves your self-worth but creates a connection that strengthens who you are. Getting involved in service learning can improve your experiences and give you new people to connect with. What you learn can also add value in the classroom and in work settings: a new way to do something, unmet needs you were unaware of, opportunities for new businesses ventures – the list goes on and on.

 

 

More Questions to Ask on Your College Visit

The more you know about each college, the better your ultimate decision will be. Ask questions and weigh your options.

General Academics

—How much time do students typically spend on homework?

—How much writing and reading are expected?

—What is the average class size of introductory classes?

—How widely used are teaching assistants on your campus?

—What is the average class size of upper-division courses?

 

Academic Perks (These are programs that you want available)

—What opportunities are there for undergraduate research?

—How many students participate in undergraduate research?

—Is there a culminating senior year experience?

—Do you have an honors college?

—Do you have a learning community or other freshman experience?

 

Graduation Rates

—What is your four-year graduation rate?

—What is your five-year graduation rate?

—What does it take to graduate in four years?

—What percentage of freshmen return for sophomore year?

 

Academic Support

—What type of tutoring program do you have? Is it free?

—How do you provide academic advice to students?

—Do you have a writing center and how do I access it?

—What kind of learning disability resources do you have?

 

Other Opportunities

—How many students at the college get internships? When do they start?

—What percentage of students study abroad? Where can they go?

—What type of career services do you offer? Can one start in Freshman year?

 

Student Life

—What kind of dorm choices are there for Freshman, Sophomores, etc.?

—What percentage of student live on campus?

—How long are housing accommodations guaranteed for students?

—Do most students go home on the weekend?

—What percentage of the study body belongs to a sorority or fraternity?

—What activities are offered to students which differentiate your college?

—What clubs are popular on campus?

 

Questions for the Financial Aid Department

—What is your average financial aid package?

—What is the typical breakdown of loans versus grants?

—What percentage of financial need does the school typically meet?

—What is the average merit award?

—What percentage of students receive college grants?

—What is the average college debt that students leave with?

—What work-study opportunities are there?

Why Prep Early for The SAT or ACT?

Studies have shown that preparing early for these tests improves your ultimate scores.

Why? Well, preparing early allows for more distributed learning sessions, more contact time, exposure to the material, and more time to take official tests. To understand a concept you need to be able to apply it to other problems that you will be tested on in  the future. If you are cramming for an exam you are using memorization. After the test the information may leave your brain. To truly learn you must study at a deeper level. Here are some techniques:

  • Pick a Prep Method and Make a Study Plan. Follow through.
  • Stay on Schedule. As I outlined, waiting until the last minute means that you are no longer studying – you are memorizing.
  • Actively Learn. Studies have shown this to be the most effective way to study. As you read your notes and your text, create exercises for yourself to ensure you are learning the material. Apply it, or discuss it, or try to teach a friend the information.

Testing companies suggest that you prepare for 6 – 8 weeks before taking your first sanctioned test. This makes you more confident, relaxed and capable. Here is information on preparing effectively.

Experts agree that students should take the test three times between junior year and the beginning of senior year. Multiple testing periods may allow for some colleges to Superscore your test. Through repeated testing, there is also a gain in mastery and exposure. You get a different effect from a live sitting vs. a practice test. When you’re in a live test, each time you take it work for a higher score. This reinforces a feeling of accomplishment.

All testing should be finished by October of senior year so that you can take advantage of Early Action and Early Decision application deadlines, which in the admissions process can give you an enormous advantage.

For these reasons I want you to take a timed and scored practice test for both the SAT & ACT this summer. From those we will determine which is the better test for you. Here is the conversion table.  If you are better at one test, stick with that exam. If you are the same or close, it is the student’s preference.

If you are taking Algebra 2 in junior year, you should not take your standardized tests until May or June since this material is part of either test. Otherwise, depending on your test scores, we will put together a plan of when to take the tests.

May and June are the best time to take SAT subject tests so that they correlate with your AP classes. Only top-tier colleges are using these scores, however.

In summary, testing is a journey which is best to start early so your results will be positive.

Receiving Merit Aid from Colleges

Many colleges offer “free” merit aid money to students they want to attract to their college. This money is not based on your family’s financial wherewithal. It is a scholarship meant to entice you to accept their offer of admission, which works because everyone likes to feel as though they are getting a special deal. Most offers are four-year scholarships, and almost all are dependent on the student keeping up a high GPA throughout those four years.

What makes a student attractive to a college?

Colleges want students that enhance their school’s profile by having high grades, test scores, strong athletic, musical, or other talents, unique and meaningful extra-curricular activities, and strong interview skills where required. Students that are engaged in meaningful extra-curricular activities usually have higher graduation rates and make the school more vibrant and exciting. Students who actually start an organization, a fund raiser, or have a leadership qualities are very attractive because this shows strong initiative, while students who do not get involved in college activities tend to have a higher attrition rate. I work with students to find unique projects to spearhead within their area of interest and to help implement them. Some examples are a student who started a peer mentoring group at her high school, another who made posters about going to college which were hung in every public high school in his county and translated into Spanish, and a student that started and ran a dance camp for children.

What do you need to do to receive this merit aid?

The beauty of this scholarship money is that at most colleges you do not need to do anything more than have an excellent application, activities list, teacher recommendations, and essay. Your competently completed application will automatically determine whether or not the school considers you a candidate worthy of merit aid. No extra essays or forms are usually requested.

Which schools offer merit aid to a significant number of students?

Colleges and Universities Offering Generous Merit Aid 

*Source for data is College Kickstart.

School % Undergrads w/ Merit Aid Avg. Merit Amount
Furman University 44 $ 20,472
Oberlin College 41 $ 14,434
Creighton University – Business 39 $ 15,136
Creighton University – Arts and Sciences 39 $ 15,136
Creighton University – Nursing 39 $ 15,136
Millsaps College 38 $ 20,354
Tulane University 36 $ 25,779
University of Dayton – Business 36 $ 15,516
University of Dayton – Arts and Sciences 36 $ 15,516
University of Dayton – Education and Health Sciences 36 $ 15,516
University of Dayton – Engineering 36 $ 15,516
Butler University 33 $ 13,570
Goucher College 30 $ 17,200
Berry College 29 $ 12,728
Whitman College 29 $ 10,314
Fairfield University – Nursing 28 $ 14,445
Fairfield University – Engineering 28 $ 14,445
Fairfield University – Business 28 $ 14,445
Fairfield University – Arts & Sciences 28 $ 14,445
Santa Clara University – Engineering 26 $ 14,378
Santa Clara University – Business 26 $ 14,378
Santa Clara University – Arts and Sciences 26 $ 14,378
Clemson University – Education 26 $ 5,216
Clemson University – Engineering, Computing and Applied Science 26 $ 5,216
Clemson University – Science 26 $ 5,216
Clemson University – Business 26 $ 5,216
Clemson University – Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences 26 $ 5,216
Clemson University – Architecture, Arts and Humanities 26 $ 5,216
Clemson University – Behavioral, Social and Health Science 26 $ 5,216
Quinnipiac University 25 $ 15,389
University of Arizona (Resident) 21 $ 8,164
University of Arizona (Non-Resident) 21 $ 8,164
Arizona State University (Resident) 21 $ 7,968
Arizona State University (Non-Resident) 21 $ 7,968

Here is another list from a US News & World Report:

School Percent of students receiving non-need based aid

Memphis, TN

58%

Needham, MA

55%

Boston, MA

52%

Siloam Springs, AR

50%

Tacoma, WA

50%

Bismarck, ND

49%

Birmingham, AL

48%

San Antonio, TX

48%

New York, NY

47%

Granville, OH

46%

Hillsdale, MI

46%

Greenville, SC

44%

Spokane, WA

44%

Birmingham, AL

43%

Tulsa, OK

43%

Odessa, TX

42%

Danville, KY

41%

Oberlin, OH

41%

San Francisco, CA

41%

Savannah, GA

41%

Please be aware that only a percentage of students are given this offer. Just applying without making a strong case for what you can bring to a college will make you far less likely to receive merit aid. Also this table shows the average amount of money, which means many students will receive more or less than these amounts. To be a candidate to receive this money every part of your application should be done well.

Get To Know Your College Representative

College reps are typically assigned “territories” to manage. They are your direct contact with their college and admissions office. Here are four ways to elevate your standing in their eyes:

Meet the Representatives When They Come to your School for an Informational Visit and attend their session. You will see these visit through your school’s Naviance account. Afterwards shake their hand, get their business card, ask a pre-rehearsed question, and send them a follow-up e-mail. If you can’t attend the meeting, send them an e-mail and see if they are available to meet at another time. Many reps meet interested students at coffee shops to talk. Even when you can’t make that meeting, you are letting them know that you are interested in the college.

Tip: Find the name and contact info of your local admissions rep in the admission section of the school’s website or by getting in touch with the Office of Admission there.

Attend A College Fair – When college fairs are held in your region or at your high school, you should attend them. Your rep will likely be manning the college’s table, or, if they’re an alumni they may be able to connect you with their office’s rep.

Here is how to make a strong impression at the fair:

  • Make an effort to dress professionally, or at the very least, not excessively casual. Think “business casual”, not “I just got done at the gym” in terms of dress.
  • Arrive early and avoid the rush! If there is a line, you may want to return later in the fair. The counselor may usher the line closer to the table so they’re not repeating themselves. Be patient.
  • Don’t be shy. Introduce yourself to the counselor. Make eye contact and offer a handshake. Tell the counselor your name and that you’re excited to find out more information about their institution.
  • Develop a few strong, specific questions. Do they offer the program you’re interested in? Are there any marquee majors or programs?  What about the student experience?  What’s the range of athletic opportunities? Housing? Career services?
  • General questions often lead to general answers. Be specific. “How is your business program?” could be better phrased as “Tell me about your business program and your emphasis in entrepreneurship. What career resources are there?”
  • Ask for the rep’s contact info or business card. Better yet, make sure they have YOUR contact info. Counselors aren’t just there to say hello, they want to make sure they are able to get in touch with you about important deadline and application info.
  • Every interaction doesn’t warrant a thank you note, but if you have a great conversation, go home and write one. You will be noticed and remembered.

If offered, schedule an interview. There may be several different kinds of on- and off-campus interviews:

  • Required: Self-explanatory, but know the format. In-person? Over Skype? Alumni?
  • Evaluative: If interviews aren’t required, but recommended, you may be able to interview and the impressions of the interviewer may be included as part of the application review process.
  • Non-evaluative or informational: These are not part of the application process. They give the school an opportunity to start a dialogue with you. These interviews may be conducted by current students and alumni.

Tip: You may not be able to speak with your counselor during your interview if they aren’t available or are busy interviewing other students. Don’t worry! Your interviewer will share his or her notes with your local rep and those notes will end up in your file.

Reach Out to Your Rep. If you have specific, hard-to-answer questions throughout the application process, he or she may be able to help, or at the very least point you in the right direction. No questions? Send your rep a brief email saying hello and that you’re excited about the possibility of attending. Don’t send them questions to which you can easily find the answer. If you can google it, you probably don’t need to ask. College reps aren’t mean – their job is to advise and provide assistance through all parts of the application process – but don’t be surprised or offended if their response is brief. They got LOTS of emails.