Illinois: Coming to a High School Near You
I hope you’re all having a wonderful start to the school year! Over the next few months, you might notice your high school’s college counseling office advertise visits from different colleges each day, or you might see different college names posted on your student portal.
College representative visits are a great way to have a personal conversation about your college(s) of interest, meet your admissions counselor, and get your questions answered straight from the source. While visits from University of Illinois admissions counselors do not serve as interviews and we do not consider demonstrated interest as part of our application process, they are an important tool intended help you in your college search process. We aren’t taking down notes on what you ask, or whether you wore a banana suit to the visit (it’s happened…#homecomingweek) so relax. No pressure!
Prepare for the visit:
I find that a visit is most productive for a student when they have already done a bit of research about the school beforehand. This will give you a foundation of knowledge to build off of while listening to the representative, and help you determine what you still need to know and would like answered before the session is over. Use all of your resources: the college’s admissions website, social media pages, college review websites, blogs (like the ones you are currently reading, hint hint) and get your learning on!
At the visit:
Traditionally you will receive two things at the beginning of your visit: a little booklet or brochure to look through, and a contact card. The booklet is yours to keep, you can use it to take notes on things that you like, don’t like, and that you want to remember for later. The contact card should be filled out and given back to us. This will allow you to start receiving more information from the university, and will allow us to follow up with you, should you have any questions.
We will usually start the visit by introducing ourselves, and giving you information about our application process, academics, student life, and different opportunities on campus.
The trickiest part of a college rep visit is what comes next. The representative talks through their presentation, takes a pause, looks at you and says “so do you have any questions?”
Your mind is blank.
Let’s avoid this moment all together. If there is anything that interests you or you want to know more about while you’re doing your research on the University, write it down! If there is anything that the representative says that interests you or that you want to know more about, write it down! You can then reference this when it’s time to ask questions.
Some students will come with a list of questions that they found online, or from their high school. These are wonderful starting points, but make sure that the question that you’re asking will actually help you get the information you’re looking for.
For example: you might start by asking a very common question we get; What is the student to faculty ratio? But if what you’re truly trying to get at is not just how many faculty we have on campus, but their accessibility or involvement with students, then consider following up something like “What opportunities are there for students to interact with professors outside the classroom?”
Finally, remember that we are excited to meet you and to provide you with any of the information that you might need, so be an active participant in this opportunity! Again, listen, take notes, and ask questions. Feel free to introduce yourself at the beginning or end of the visit, it’s nice to be able to put faces to names as we chat with you through email or on the phone throughout the year. No sweat if we aren’t able to make it out to your high school this year. Our admissions counselors are more than happy to answer your questions through phone, email, or during your visit to campus.
See you soon!