Presentations by Admissions CounselorsJanuary 13, 2007 by Shawn Augustson
I think that my colleague Areal Tal makes a lot of good points in his article about College Tour Taking. My article is an expansion of his which discusses not only the tours but also the discussions with the admissions counselors which are usually a big part of getting to know a college.
I usually found myself very let down by the talks with admissions counselors and I often found myself talking with my mother afterward saying that I hadn’t learned anything at all about the school. The problem with tours and the talks with admissions counselors are that while you may be able to learn some facts about a school from an admissions counselor. What are the average grades? AP Policy? Sometimes though you can get a lot more than that sort of information.
One of the best college admissions counselor presentations that I went to was for RPI, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. Though it turned me off from the school, it was an amazing presentation because of all that I learned about the college. RPI is a technology/science school and I knew that, but they still have a relatively good name in management and they have a liberal arts school. And the truth is they have good names too and it was really in the management school that I was interested.
So I visited and I took the tour. It’s a beautiful campus and I must admit that I liked the people that I spoke to there. And the dining hall didn’t seem all that disgusting which was a plus when compared to many of the other ones that I had seen before. But it really didn’t tell me much about the academics of the college. It was not until the admissions counselor’s presentation that I knew I didn’t want to go there.
The admissions counselor presentation, especially if coming from a computer PowerPoint, is made by the college to let you know about the school. The admissions counselor presents what the school thinks is important. And that’s the key to these admissions counselor presentations. RPI mentioned the fact that there were other schools, relegated to three slides RPI mentioned the fact that there were other schools, relegated to three slides towards the end. These other schools are important but not enough to be a focal point.
Though, this could happen the other way too. At Binghamton University, State University of New York, the admissions counselor presentation spent the same amount of time on the School of Management and Harpur College of Arts and Sciences. School of Management admits about ¼ the freshmen and is about ¼ the size. This admissions counselor presentation works well if you are interested in the School of Management; it’s obviously the focal point of the school over the Harpur College of Arts and Sciences. But not the other way around.
You can also learn a lot about what a college values from what the admissions counselors talk about. Clark University trumps up its five-year program and its community service commitments. Clearly they are trying to get more academics who want to stay and get a master’s in their fifth year. Where as Tulane trumps up its location and culture. Cornell, its Ivy status and its amazing dining halls. Figure out what the two main aspects of the school are and figure out if they fit in with you.
Admissions counselor presentations can also be a great way to show your interest in a school. Talk with the admissions counselor, say your name, tell them why you are interested, something specific from the presentation or some other fact that you know about the school. Ask if you can set up a formal/informal interview with either a student, an admissions counselor, or an alumni.
A presentation by an admissions counselor still is a great way to learn about a school but similar to tours try not to be too swayed by what you see. Not all admissions counselors are great presenters but that shouldn’t detract from your interest in a college. College is about finding a place where you will fit in and learn new skills. That should be at a place where you can be happy. An admissions counselor can give you information about a school but only you can make that decision. Happy college hunting!
Copyright: Joshua is a freelancer and a student at Binghamton University, State University of New York. He is pursuing majors in Finance, Human Development, and Accounting. Joshua’s work has been published in many online blogs, web sites and print journals.
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