A View from the Other Side

How college reps can connect with students during school visits.

This summer I made the switch from the college side of the desk to my new position in a high school counseling office. While fall travel is now a thing of the past, fall visits are the new norm. With visits starting to wind down, I finally have found the time to reflect on the admission presentations that were given. Some college reps offered the basic recruitment talk while others really painted a picture of what life will be like as a student at their college.

As someone who used to regularly give those presentations, I thought it would be fun to share what really won the students over.

Connecting with things they can relate to…

  • TRADITIONS – Traditions are big in high school – Friday night football games, homecoming, spirit week, etc…so when a college rep highlighted the popular college traditions, especially the ones that still resonate with alumni that are drawn back to campus, the students were engaged.
  • FOOD – who doesn’t love food?! One rep discussed all the unique dining options outside of the traditional meal plan and then featured all the local eats in the surrounding neighborhood.
  • HOME – It’s more than just a college, it’s their new home. Reps painted a picture of what the campus and surrounding area is like and what do students do for fun on the weekend.

Being open and honest with the process…

  • REALITY CHECK – Not everyone will get in. In fact, many students with good grades and strong resumes simply do not get in because of space. Explaining to the students just how competitive some colleges are helped set realistic expectations.
  • HELPFUL TIPS – Nothing beats personal advice from the admissions counselor who will likely be the one reading the application. From breaking down EA/ED/RD to helpful tips on the essay, college reps won students over with their candid advice.

Jenna Schebell is the Director of Guidance at Saint John Vianney High School in Holmdel, New Jersey. Prior to her position at SJV, she worked for over ten years in college admissions at Marymount Manhattan College, New York City, and The University of Tampa, Florida.