The term “networking” can be a turn-off; it conjures images of sycophants working the room backslapping and handshaking. Instead, think about making connections with people you meet during your campus visits. Connections are valuable. Initial campus meeting provide additional information. Once you leave campus, professors and admissions officers serve as a point of connection answering questions and putting you in touch with others on campus. These relationships can help you make final college decisions and ease your transition to college. As you meet people and maintain connections, be genuine in your interactions and seek to connect. No one likes to be used and disingenuous interactions can backfire.
Make arrangements before you visit the campus. You should make an appointment with the admissions officer responsible for your geographic area if possible and have an interview if you are a rising senior. If an interview is not available, attend the information session, the college tour and register your interest in the college. Try to arrange to attend a class while on campus and you will have a real sense of the possibilities that await you at the school.
During a college visit, try to get all your questions answered and sit in on a class in a subject that interests you. It is not about networking per say as much as really seeing if this is a place that would suit you for college. Be sure to ask how to get in touch if additional questions come up after your visit.
The more you get to know a campus and let the campus get to know you the better. So if you can meet with admissions officers during your visit, take the opportunity. Find out the representative in charge of your area and try to make an appointment. If you have academic passions, see if you can meet with professors in that field. Admissions offices can often help you coordinate those contacts. You can also attend classes and even visit a professor during his or her office hours–these are usually posted online. Always follow up with a thank you note and make sure to mention these interactions in your application.
Yes. and when you do make sure that you, be on time, be yourself, ask questions that deal with your particular needs,and make sure you mention anything about your background or achievements that you want the admission office to know.
Yes, if there’s a way to do it without being too pushy. You can try and sit in on a class in which you have a particular interest and approach the professor after the class to ask a question. Although it’s often difficult to meet an admissions officer unless you have a scheduled appointment or interview, if you do have such an opportunity, make the most of it by introducing yourself and saying how much you loved the tour and the campus. If you have met an admissions officer at your high school, send an email before you visit the school to see if you can stop in to talk. But whatever you do, be genuine and enthusiastic.
I think a conversation with a faculty member can be invaluable. If you have very specific goals for college, this is the time to explore the reality of making them happen. Taking the time and effort to connect with a professor or admissions rep on campus is a great way to demonstrate interest. Depending on when you visit, the timing may just not work out, but it is worth a try.
Absolutely! Attending an information session and going out on a campus tour are great ways to get to know a college better. You will receive a lot of information and get a feel for the campus. However, these activities are one-sided. The college provides information and you receive it. There’s little interaction unless you ask a lot of questions and talk to the tour guide throughout the tour – neither of which is always possible.
Of course! Just don’t to so with the intention of this having a direct impact on any admissions decision. Do personal feelings and biases play into the process? Of course. But, you would be amazed at how many students deep down really feel that, “If they like me/if I show I’m really excited to come, they’ll take me.” No one cares…at least no enough for this to be a huge tipping point (although it does play a small role).
If you’re on a tour organized by a company, visiting a series of colleges/universities over a week or so, there may not be time allowed for you to meet privately with admissions officers, professors, or coaches during the time that you are on a given campus. Of course, this will depend on how the tour company organizes its schedules, but judging from the college tours that I have been on and led – both with other counselors and as a supervisor on student tours, I can say that time is very carefully allotted and private appointments would not fit into the schedule.
Absolutely! You should have planned this in advance to make it happen. If not, hopefully you’ll get lucky & see some higher ups. Admissions folks always like the known vs the unknown when it’s decision time!
If you’re given the opportunity to speak with an admission officer or professor during your visit, you should definitely do so! Being able to connect your face with your application will help your admission counselor when it comes time to review your materials as you’ve suddenly gone from “Joe from Montana” to “Joe- that really funny guy who wore a cowboy hat to his interview and is passionate about radio broadcasting…we even let him be a guest on our afternoon radio show while he was visiting from Montana!” See how that changes things? As for meeting with professors…if you want to get a sneak-peek at who you’ll be spending a lot of time with over the next 4 years, it’s not a bad idea. Faculty members are also great people to ask about alumni outcomes as most of them probably still keep in touch with graduates. In fact, they may also be wiling to connect you with alumni who are working in the field you are interested in pursuing.
Yes, absolutely! Introduce yourself to any admissions officers you meet at info sessions, tours, college fairs, etc. The same goes for current students, alumni and faculty. If you sit in on a class make sure to introduce yourself to the prof. or TA and even other students and get their email/contact info if possible. The more people you meet that you are able to speak with the more perspective you are able to gain regarding the school. Get their emails, keep in touch, ask questions if/when they come up during the process. Do not be shy to reach out to individuals during the college process. If they are unable or unwilling to reply, they won’t; although most are happy to help answer prospective students questions.
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