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Answers to Your College Questions

What should I say to a college admissions representative when I meet him or her?

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11136294 S-teen-adultWhether you meet a college representative at your school, a hotel, a National Association for College Admission Counseling College Fair, or in a college admissions office, here are some ways to be prepared:

1. Be sure to know the college rep’s full name and the college he or she represents.

2. Before you meet, find out something about the school. You can do this by going to their college website or by reading their page in the Fiske Guide to Colleges. This will help you to determine what you like about the college.

3. As you approach the rep, say something like, “Hi. I’m _________, a senior at ______________ High School. As I have looked into colleges, your school is one that I like best. I’m wondering if you have a minute to answer a few questions?”

4. Now, if you’re going to say the above, be prepared to identify four, five, six reasons why you’re interested in the school.

5. You should also come prepared to ask the rep some questions, such as:

  • What is the campus like when classes are not in session? What do students do during evenings and weekends?
  • What kind of students attend your school? Are they serious academics, jocks, techies, partygoers, “green” people, or a mix of all kinds?
  • What percentage of students live on campus? If they don’t live there, where do they live?
  • What do students like most about your college?
  • What are the classes and who are the professors that get the most rave reviews?
  • Ask anything else you want to know about the college, for real.

6. When you feel like you’re done or the rep says he or she has to move on, then thank the rep for his or her time and ask for a business card.

7. When you get home, send a thank-you email and say how much you enjoyed the conversation, refer to a couple of things you discussed, and indicate your real interest in the college.

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Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz is author of adMISSION POSSIBLE: The “Dare to Be Yourself” Guide for Getting into the Best Colleges for You, and founder/director of, a free college admissions information and resources website. An award-winning author, speaker, and professional counselor, Hansen Shaevitz is a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), Associate Member of the Independent Educational Consultant’s Association (IECA) and a Unigo Expert Network columnist. She is a former member of Stanford University’s Parents’ Board and chair of the Advisory Council for Stanford’s Institute for Women & Gender. She spent twelve years as a trustee for La Jolla Country Day School. Hansen Shaevitz has a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Stanford University, was Orientation Officer at the East West Center, a member of the Dean of Students staff at Stanford, and directed the College Re-Entry Program at the University of California, San Diego.

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