5 Questions to Ask College Admissions Officers

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

5 Questions to Ask College Admissions OfficersGet the Info You Need Directly From the Source

With campus visits and college fairs, the fall is an important time for students to learn more about the schools they’re interested in and what it takes to gain admission. College fairs and information sessions during campus visits give students the opportunity to interact directly with an admissions officer and have their questions answered by a member of the team that makes the decisions.

At IvyWise we recommend that, when visiting a school, students register for the information session in addition to the guided campus tour. Information sessions are typically led by admissions officers, unlike the guided campus tour which is usually led by a current student. When interacting with admissions officers, students should aim to ask thoughtful questions, as this is their opportunity to get the information they need directly from the source! Whether it’s an information session on campus or even just at your school, or a college fair, here are five questions to ask college admissions officers this fall.

What are you looking for in applicants?
Information about average GPA and test scores of admitted students is readily available on school websites, so don’t waste your opportunity asking about admissions standards unless you have clarifying questions. Instead, ask about the more “abstract” things they’re looking for in applicants. How can you stand out? Is leadership valued? Do you look for students with robust summer experiences? Or are you only concerned with what students are doing during the school year? Different schools have different admissions rubrics, and they’re all looking for something different from students. Admissions officers enjoy talking about what they like to see in applications, so don’t be afraid to ask!

How do admissions requirements vary across majors?
Different majors or concentrations may have different admissions requirements, so ask if there are additional application elements or other prerequisites you may need to take before applying to a specific program. Do you need to write additional essays? Submit a portfolio? Audition? Come prepared to talk about the majors you’re interested in or your general academic interests in order to get more information on how certain majors might fit what you’re looking for and what it takes to gain admission to those programs.

Are there any new majors or concentrations offered?
What new is going on at the school that you may have missed in your initial research? Are there any new majors related to your interests that they’re trying to fill? What other programs or opportunities can you take advantage of as a student there? Admissions officers are there to help you learn more about the school, but also to recruit students to new programs and offerings, so ask about what’s new that you may be interested in.

How will the school change over the next few years?
In addition to what’s new now, ask what will be new in the future. Does the school plan on expanding enrollment? Are there new dorms, buildings, libraries being built on campus? Get a sense of the plans that the school has and how that fits into your idea of your college experience. If the school is expanding class sizes, will that lead to more large, lecture hall classes when you were looking forward to smaller, interactive classroom settings? If exercise is important to you, but the on-campus fitness center is outdated, is that something that will be updated while you’re there? Take note of the things that will change (or won’t!) during your time there.

What support does the school offer students?
What support does the school offer to first-year students transitioning into college life? Is there support for international students? Mental health services? What about tutoring and academic support services? These types of resources can be very critical to students, so don’t hesitate to ask if this is something that is important to you. Also, ask what support they have for helping students find summer internship or jobs, and if there are career services for grads. These are all important aspects that make the difference between a good and a great college experience.

At IvyWise, our team of admission counselors is made up of former deans and directors of admission from some of the top colleges and universities in the US, so we know how important it is to get the information you’re looking for from the people who make the decisions! If you need help building a balanced college list, or just want some advice on your college applications, contact us today.

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