Ways to Find Out about Colleges
There are a variety of methods to use to begin to learn the details about the colleges that you may be interested in attending.
Connecting with colleges
First, the are College Fairs for you to visit. This is where representatives from hundreds of schools meet at a designated location and are available to provide you with information. You have the opportunity to ask these representatives about majors, athletic opportunities, financial aid, extracurricular activities, boarding and any other questions that you may have.
It is important that you go prepared so be sure to take a pen, notebook to jot down notes, list of questions to ask the representatives, and a bag to hold all of the brochures that you will collect. Create sticky labels with your name, address, and email address and bring them with you so that you will not have to physically write your contact information at each school. Remember that it is important to make a good impression so be sure to go dressed nicely.
If you find a school that you are particularly interested in then be sure to sign up for their mailing list so that you will receive information from them such as deadlines, and campus visit opportunities.
A schedule of fairs can be found at www.nacacnet.org in the events section.
High School Visits
College representatives visit high schools to connect with students as well as counselors. Typically the person that visits the school will have a great influence on admission to the school. So if this is a favorite school make a good impression: dress appropriately, ask questions and make yourself known to the representative. At these sessions you will hear an overview of the school, receive some literature and in some cases possibly even receive a application fee waiver. It is a great opportunity to ask questions to make sure the school has what your are seeking.
You register for these visits through your guidance office. Announcements will be made regarding when schools will be visiting. If it is a school that you are interested in be sure to ask for a business card after the session and follow-up with the representative.
Visiting a college is a great way to learn about the school and to see it in action with students on campus. It usually entails an informational presentation giving an overview of the campus and then a tour led by a current student. Asking student's questions is the best way to get straight forward answers from your peers. If possible eat in the dining hall to sample the food. Check to see if they have any special interests sessions on topics such as financial aid, student life, honors opportunities etc... This is a great way to get a lot of information about the school, students, campus and majors. Check the school website or call admissions to find out when these organized visits are scheduled.
Individual College Visits
This is where your set up an individual appointment with the school at a convenient time for you and your parents. Once a date is established call the admissions office or go to their website and set up the appointment.
It is important to visit the school at a time when classes are in session so that you can get a good feel for campus life. A general visit will include a session with an admissions counselor or participating in a group information session and a tour. You can also schedule to sit in on a class, meet with a professor in your chosen major, or talk with a coach in your sport.
Every school is different and each has their own way of setting up these appointments so it is important that you check with each on to determine the process.
Check with the admissions office to see if they offer formal overnight visits if not ask around to see if you can find someone from your school or town that is attending and may be you can set up a visit with them. This is a great way to see what residential living is like. Hopefully, you will be able to attend a social event and eat in the dining hall as well. It will give you a great way to see what it is really like to live at the school.
Never underestimate the power of networking. Always get a business card from anyone you met with so that you have available the information necessary to make a follow-up phone call, or to send an email if so desired. If you found them helpful during this process then mail or email a note to say thank you.
Normally, the school will assign an admissions counselor who will be the one to meet with you on your visit, who reviews your file and who will be at you local or high school college fair. So get to know your admissions counselor and have him or her get to know you.
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