Show and Tell College Admissions

College admissions departments want to know that prospective students are wholeheartedly interested in their schools.  It is not enough to just complete and submit a college application.  There are several different ways in which students can show how much they really want to be on a particular college campus at the start of the semester.

The student should develop a list of what he or she feels are the most important college characteristics.  While visiting each campus, he or she should take notes and determine personal likes and dislikes.  Taking notes will help to alleviate all colleges visited from merging together in the student’s mind. Photograph various landmarks at each of the schools to create visual reminders.  While on campus, students and parents should also attend an information session and introduce themselves to the admissions representatives.

By building relationships with tour guides, admissions representatives, current students, and professors, students demonstrate their interest in the school.  Connect with the admissions representative that is assigned to the student’s area/high school.  Meet with that person and communicate afterward with any questions or concerns or to demonstrate continued interest.  Communication should be regarding specific questions which are not answered on the college website or if they are, they require clarification.

The prospective student should be on the college’s email list.  Some schools may track how many emails the student opens throughout the admissions process.  Participate in the school’s social media sites.  If the college of interest includes a  visit to a student’s high school or to the local area, the student should attend the event or college fair.

Interviews are also a fantastic way to demonstrate interest in a college.  If interviews are permitted by the college, ALWAYS schedule one.  There is no better way to oneself to your future alma mater than by doing so in person in a slightly vulnerable way.  By completing an interview, the student will have a chance to show and tell the college admissions representatives how much an acceptance to that particular school would mean and what he or she can do to make the school an even better place for future students.

If available, seriously interested students may want to apply using one of the early methods:  Early Action or Early Decision.  Early action is a type of early admission process for admission to colleges.  Early action usually requires students to submit an application by November 1 (for example) of their senior year.  Early decision plans are binding — a student who is accepted as an ED applicant must attend the college.  Early action plans are nonbinding — students receive an early response to their application but do not have to commit to the college until the normal reply date of May 1.  There are pros and cons to each of these which should be carefully researched regarding each college’s specific procedures.

Another way for students to show interest in a desirable college would be through the application essay (s) and supplemental essay(s).  Research the college and refer to various aspects of the college and the student’s course of study.  Be very specific. The student needs to show the essay readers that he/she has done his or her homework through visits, internet research, printed materials, websites, etc. with attention paid to fine the details of the school.

As a final point, the student should always follow-up with any professors, current or former students, alumni, and admissions representatives.  One never knows who will be able to speak on the student’s behalf in favor of admittance.

NEPA Career and College Counseling Associates – Excellence in Career and College Preparation – is available to help all students plan for career and college.  Services include aiding in the college admissions process, setting up college visits, arranging career shadow experiences, advising students on college admissions testing, interview process, resume development, essays, financial aid and scholarships.

Contact Jennifer L. Severini-Kresock, who is an experienced private career and college counselor, and NACAC, PACAC, IECA, HECA, PASFAA member, at (570) 702-5700 or for more information on this article and on her career and college preparation services.

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