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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...?

________________________________________________________________
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

Got Email?

Friday, December 20, 2019

In an era of non-stop texting, instant messaging and SnapChat, for our students email is soooo 20th-century.  

While email remains the preferred mode of communication in the professional world, it seems our Generation Z would prefer to keep things briefer.

Because Email

The importance of juniors learning to get with their email account begins to accelerate once the college process kicks off. Frequent touch points with one's email account begin to take on new importance. Standardized testing registrations; financial aid application notifications; and not to mention actual decisions rendered by colleges, typically arrive through an email platform. A high school junior or senior's daily touch point with their email account becomes important. At least 3 - 4 inbox visits per week is my recommendation for even the most email-phobic teen.

Too Much of A Good Thing

Ironically, part of the reason college applicants are squeamish about opening their inboxes is the overwhelming amount of communications generated by the colleges themselves. Kiddoes often comment on the hyperactivity on the part of schools stuffing their inboxes with solicitations imploring them to apply.

Email Etiquette

Even though youngsters prefer the ease and spontaneity of the quick text, now is the time to learn how to manage the realm of  to/from/subject lines.  Email communication is how most in the professional world interact with colleagues, clients -- and prospective employers.

Just as formal telephone skills were once a fundamental element in professional communication, the same stands today when we talk about email.

Be A "Wide Receiver"

As colleges have been observing the strange but growing disconnect with applicants across this "old-timey" platform of email, they are resorting to seeking permission to make contact via text message. For some high schoolers this could come as a welcome blessing, while for others an intrusion into what feels like a personal domain.  And let's not forget that not every student is in a position to own a cellular device with a texting plan.

Managing Inbox Overwhelm

Kids might consider opening a designated "college process" email account to separate out the personal stuff from the college mailings.  Now there will be no excuse to miss notifications about essentials such as scholarship awards or missing recommendations or test scores. Until communication technology evolves yet again, keep that email inbox front and center. Don't want to miss those important notifications from the Dream School, do you?

________________________________________________________________
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


The Top 5 Summer To-Do's for Rising Juniors & Parents

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

The summer is for enjoying much-needed downtime and then making a little time for these tips that will make junior year -- and the college process -- run more smoothly:

1. Design a testing schedule for next year, including practice tests, prep calendar, etc. Students can take either the SAT, the ACT, or both. Because colleges equally accept scores from either, students are smart to test according to their personal strengths.

2. Try on something fulfilling over the summer. Jobs, travel, volunteering -- any activity that draws a student's authentic interest provides a great opportunity to grow their world and help discover strengths.

3.  Read, read, read.  (Anything that you enjoy!)

4. Visit a couple of local colleges -- or check out what's close to the family summer vacation spot -- to gain a sense of how different campuses look and feel.  Make an effort to vary campus size and location for a broader perspective ex. large vs. small; urban vs. rural. 

5. Have an open parent/student conversation about college affordability.  For students heading to college in Fall 2021, it's a smart idea for parents and students to consider financials to determine the family's expected financial contribution (EFC).  For an early estimate of financial aid eligibility, check out this planning tool.

________________________________________________________________
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

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