As an independent educational consultant, I have many opportunities to visit colleges and universities. As a matter of fact, a requirement of professional membership in the IECA (Independent Educational Consultants Association) is to visit dozens of schools, which I have done eagerly coast-to-coast and even in London! However, your school counselors rarely have a similar opportunity during the school year. That does not mean that your counselors are unfamiliar with the colleges and universities in which you might be interested. Many counseling departments work with the college admissions officers and arrange for them to visit your school.
Although it is essential for you to visit schools, especially those to which you may apply Early Decision, you can’t expect your family to go to the expense of jetting around the country on holidays and weekends to do dozens of college visits. Therefore, students (and even parents) should take advantage of scheduled visits from admissions officers. Sometimes these visits are open only to seniors although often juniors are invited.
What are the benefits of these visits?
- You meet face-to-face with representatives on your own comfortable turf.
- You receive a great deal of information from a reliable source which can help you decide if a particular college is for you.
- You can show the officer “demonstrated” interest in his or her school.
- You have a name of this contact person to whom you can ask questions later by email or phone
- You may be speaking directly with the admissions officer who will later read and evaluate your application.
- According to the College Board, sometimes the reps, especially ones from state universities, will do any early evaluation of your profile and help you to assess your fit at that institution and will suggest ways to improve your chances of admissions.
So rather than spend your first semester’s tuition on literal visits, this method is a great starting point.