Meeting Admissions Officers – How to be prepared!
Is your school being visited by some visiting US universities? Well it’s more than just an excuse to get out of class, it’s an opportunity to get some real information and educate yourself about what these universities are looking for in students like you.
Most of the time you only get one day, or even one hour, in some cases just a few minutes to talk to the representative in person. Here are a few tips to make that time worthwhile.
1. Bring a notepad and a pen. You might be meeting a dozen or more representatives at one visit, so stay organized because there’s no way you will remember all the information you get from each one.
2. Write down your questions ahead of time and come to the visit prepared. The last thing you want is to finally get your turn with the representative and forget what you wanted to ask.
3. Look up the universities online before you meet the representative. They have a list of their requirements on their website, usually under the Undergraduate Admissions section, and there you should find what tests (SAT? TOEFL?) they require, if they require a recommendation, what’s their criteria for international students, etc. So for example if you already know that they require a strict 4.0 average, and yours is a 3.0, have some other questions ready so that you don’t waste their time.
4. Write down the subjects you’re interested in, even if you don’t know exactly what you want to study. They are very helpful in making recommendations for you. If you like computers and video games, they can recommend a path for you that allows you to major in software and video game design! And you know what, if they don’t have anything relevant to you they’ll tell you right away, and can recommend other people for you to ask.
5. Ask questions on behalf of your parents, too. Sometimes your parents have concerns that don’t necessarily concern you. We’ve all been there, we get excited to go somewhere but your parents ask that one question that makes the decision of whether or not you’re allowed to go. It could be about the dorms, about tuition, about what majors they offer. It works in your favor if you have this information ready when discussing your options with your family.
6. Don’t waste the admissions officer’s time. The representatives are traveling all the time and are eager to help interested students find their way, but if you are just looking to pass the time and you aren’t really interested in what their university has to offer, do everyone a favor and step aside for those who are interested.
7. Do you have any special skills or activities you excel at? Ask about scholarships. You never know what scholarships for sports, music, academia, or other activities are valuable to a university.
8. If possible, bring your transcripts. To be fair they’re not necessarily going to want to see them on the spot, but if you are showing real interest in a specific university then it also proves to the admissions representative that you’re serious and they will more likely remember you.
9. Exchange contact information so you can follow up with later questions. If you remember something else you wanted to ask them after the visit, you can always send them an email following up.
10. Send them a thank you email afterwards. This one might go a long way. If it’s a university you’re serious about, they are much more likely to remember you as a candidate if you showed them such courtesies and made an impression. Remember they get so many emails from people just asking the same questions over an over, so it would be nice for them to receive something a bit more personal.