University of Virginia

Making the most of admissions office visits

This is prime season for college admissions officers to visit your high school.  Depending on your school, there might be 75-100 visits scheduled in the upcoming weeks.  How should you handle these visits?  Should you even bother to go?

College visits are absolute musts.  What a fantastic opportunity!  You get to learn about schools you are interested in and you get to meet someone directly connected to the admission process.  You now only want to attend, you want to make a good impression.  That doesn’t mean you turn into Eddie Haskell (your parents will get that joke), but you don’t want to show up late, not take any notes, and not ask any questions. 

Plan ahead.  The guidance office can help with this, but don’t be surprised by a visit that’s taking place in 10 minutes.  Know when the schools you are thinking about are coming, you might need to make some changes to your schedule.

There’s no magic number, but the rule is more is better.  Visit every school that you or your parents have even talked about.  This is not the time to say, “I’ll never go there.” 

Listen and take notes.  The admissions officers will be telling you important information about their schools and how they might fit you.  Colleges are different, this is a great chance to hear about their differences.

Even if you have visited the school or done a tour, you still want to go and meet the admissions officer.  Do not just think, “They know I’m interested” and use that as an excuse to skip it.  Schools keep track of your demonstrations of interest, and every little bit helps.

Ask at least one good question, either in the meeting or afterward.  Admissions officers see a number of students, but they also are trained to remember them.  Separating yourself from the pack will help them remember you, hopefully favorably!

Fill out the information cards at the meeting and leave it with the officer.  Make a note of the name and email address of the representative visiting your school and send him or her a short “nice meeting you” type of note.  This isn’t the place to go into a long discussion of your special case, just let them know on a personal level that you made a connection.

Colleges have personalities.  The best representatives reflect those personalities.  Notice the differences between the tone and content of the meetings.  Are they talking about academics or other aspects of college life more?  What they talk about is what is important to their schools.  If you listen to the presentation, and it is not clear to you, there’s your question:  “Describe your school’s culture and uniqueness.”

If you’d like a list of other possible questions to ask, drop us a note.