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21 Questions You Should Be Asking College Admissions Reps

Saturday, April 18, 2020

While high school buildings are shuttered, college campuses are closed to visitors, and many of us are home sheltering in place, the online world is buzzing. Virtual college fairs - webinars - FaceBook Live events -- there are copious opportunities for curious juniors -- and even seniors -- to continue a fruitful college search.

Connecting with college representatives and current students in person is preferable making socially-distant connections, but face it: A junior has to do what a junior has to do. Fortunately, there are loads of colleges out there kicking off ways to connect with prospects.  There is endless information available to curious parents and students involved in the college search process!

Learning starts with asking good questions, but what sorts of questions are useful for getting more out of online college presentations?  And after all, aren't college websites full of information? 

Here are 21 questions that students might find useful for kicking off a conversation -- or maybe these raise still additional questions that you had not yet thought of.  Some of these might be best posed to the Admission Office, while others, such as "What do students say they would like to change at the school?" or "What is the straight story about substance use at this school?" would be best put in front of a peer student.

Here is an extensive list to check out -- along with a live link to a handy worksheet that features more Great Questions to Explore With College Admissions Representatives

Turn to these 21 questions during your college search process:

  1. What is the process for financial aid application?
  2. What do students say they would like to change at the school?
  3. Am I guaranteed freshman housing? After freshman year, where do students live?
  4. Describe the opportunities for students to sample different academic areas.
  5. How common is minoring or double majoring?
  6. What leadership opportunities are there for freshmen or sophomores?
  7. How students in (my major) begin to make contacts via the school for jobs or internships?
  8. What does the school do to support healthy lifestyles? ex. healthy food; healthy activity; alternatives to drugs or alcohol
  9. What are the study abroad programs like at your school? Requirements to be eligible?
  10. Describe core or distribution requirements. How flexible are these?
  11. How do you handle advance credit? ex. AP; IB; outside college credits.
  12. Describe student safety concerns on campus. How about safety in the local community?
  13. What is the path for research work with professors?
  14. How does faculty advising work at your school?
  15. Tell me about the most popular areas of study at your school.
  16. How big is the XYZ Department at your school? Is it growing?
  17. Describe the most popular activities for students during the weekend.
  18. What opportunities are there for merit scholarship?
  19. How do students get to and from campus? How close would I be to an airport; rail or bus stations?
  20. What is the connection like between students on campus and the local community?
  21. Anything else that is on your mind about the student learning and living experience...?

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Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admissions process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and NACAC and can be reached via www.achievecoach.com

9th Grade, Before the College Search

Wednesday, January 23, 2019
It all counts!

With five months into their freshman year, 9th graders have been learning how manage their day-to-day, including the mundane elements of high school life such as the bell schedule or remembering Pizza Friday. Our freshman boys and girls are occupied with how to find their way into clubs or onto teams, not to mention figuring out the fluid nature of the social structure in their new school.  

For most, college is still a distant notion — a concept at best. And that’s fine because in our culture there is far too much discussion — and pressure — around the college conversation. Yet it’s important to be "applicant-ready" when the time comes. And that means setting a solid foundation for academic success and knowing what colleges will, shortly down the road, want to learn about your student.

So with their very first completed high school semester and grade report, a student is on the path to becoming a potential college candidate.  The grades students earn early on in high school will affect their GPA as much as grades earned as upperclassmen. Ninth graders content with earning Bs and Cs may find their college choices affected later on.  As much as upward grade trend does count, so do numbers.

Building an all-around good start

Let's support our kids by reminding them that the essentials of a good high school start include:
  • solid grades in academic courses...
  •  … and study skills grounded in time management and focus
  • organizational skills
  • firm reading skills, steadily developing 
  • a successful start to foreign language so the student is set up to pursue at least two years of the same foreign language, typically the base requirement at many (but not all) colleges
  • same for math, as a foundation in this subject prepares a student for further success in upper level classes. As with foreign language, students need to solidify the foundation in order to be successful.
  • understanding how to access support if the student requires assistance ex. teachers for outside help; school counselors; resource staff 
  • learning how to balance academic life and social life, finding a foundation in each
  • most of all, taking care of the self -- and that includes sleep and sustenance
Learning the ropes -- asking for support -- building confidence -- all combine to smooth the road in high school for our first-year boy and girls.
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Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admissions process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and NACAC and can be reached via www.achievecoach.com

Launching Juniors Into Their College Process

Monday, January 21, 2019
With the second high school semester underway, now is the season for juniors to launch their college search and application process.  Parents and students frequently hear from me that this process starts with self reflection, that is, students holding up their personal mirror and honestly evaluating themselves for what a mutual college fit might look like.  

High schoolers can start by thinking about what is most important in their college experience and considering what that might look like as they build a list of colleges that call to them.

Looking for perspective from an additional expert in the college world? Jeff Schiffman, Dean of Admission at Tulane University, offers some solid big-picture advice for juniors heading into the college search and application process. Tap here to read more.
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Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admission process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and NACAC.  Contact Marla via www.achievecoach.com  


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