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College visits are like job interviews

You know why it's important to visit colleges?  So you can learn more about the college and they can learn more about the student.  While visiting, make sure your student is actively engaged in the visit.  I often say that students need to "look them in the eye and give a firm handshake."  But being present is MORE than a handshake.  Karen didn't want me to identify her school, but she has allowed me to share this story about students visiting her college.
I teach at a large university, but within our university are many nooks and corners where a student can find ample individual attention. My classes are small seminars, rarely exceeding 15 students, and often as small as 8 or 9. Recently I received a request to host a visiting prospective student in my 2-5 PM class. As always, I sent her a friendly email with PDF files of all of the materials she would need to read to prepare for the class, plus directions for how to get to the classroom, and all of my contact information. She did not respond to my email.

She did not greet me, but rather took a seat at the table and waved-- I introduced her to the class. During the class, she did not participate. She often looked up, but for about a third of the time she was texting vigorously under the table. My regular students know that this is NOT acceptable behavior. It's a 3-hour class; she left at the break, saying she had a flight to catch. When the department contacted me, of course I mentioned her behavior. My contact relayed a story in which a prospective student, in the middle of an interview with the chair, took a phone call and even held up her hand for him to be quiet while she made her social plans.

If that student had an interest in being accepted to our school she would have 1) responded to my email rather than leaving me wondering if she was going to show up. 2) read the material and tried to appear engaged in class, and 3) kept her phone in her pocket. She should have also told me that she was going to leave early. And she should have thanked me, at least by email. Not because I like to collect thank-you notes but because all of this goes towards my impression of her level of interest in our school and her general intelligence and character. She may have believed that she was there to observe us, to see if we were good enough for her, but the observation goes in both direction.
~ Karen

Visiting a college is like a job interview.   Young adults have to be present, presentable, engaged, and engaging.

Another great way to impress colleges is to have a great transcript.  Let me help you make a great one.
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Comments 1

Guest - Karen (website) on Wednesday, 19 October 2011 08:02

I plan to read this article with my own children. I plan to discuss the social mistakes that the teen made and what could have been done different.

I plan to read this article with my own children. I plan to discuss the social mistakes that the teen made and what could have been done different.
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