Photo by Liddy Stallard
Every year, East students face the pamphlets, emails and letters that bombard them daily. In order to help students narrow down their college options, the counseling center arranges college visits for admissions officers and representatives to meet with groups of from 8 – 26 juniors and seniors at a time. Representatives visit throughout September and October to give small presentations about their schools. They touch on student life, financial aid and the educational systems of their individual universities and colleges, as well as answer any questions students may have.
Students such as senior Mazie Brooke have visited several school presentations – from the University of Kansas to Princeton University. She says that the visits have helped her to narrow down what she likes and wants in a school. Learning about social aspects on urban campuses changed her view about Greek life – she was surprised to find that a school without a Greek system didn’t mean the school had no social atmosphere. Discovering her preferences is necessary for her college process.
“I can’t afford to just apply wherever I think looks halfway decent, nor to just travel and visit,” Brooke said. “[These visits] help me limit where I want to apply.”
Schools contact counseling center secretary Carolyn Cahill to schedule visits. East does not contact any representatives to come speak. Mitch Arnett, Senior Assistant Director of Admissions for Miami University, said that Miami visits East because it is an academically strong high school with students successful long after they graduate – just the kind of students Miami is looking for. Over 60 different schools have scheduled visits for this school year. Some colleges wait to visit in the spring, in order to target juniors.
Junior Larkin McLiney has discovered these visits to be helpful in her search for a school. She has visited a few colleges in person and signed up to hear their presentations to learn more.
“I like hearing all of the different advice the admissions counsellors give about the application process,” McLiney said.
Some schools, such as Princeton, provide in-depth information on the application process, a stress to most students. Students find that time for questions and information about schools directly from an alumni source are incredibly important. Students are able to get a personal opinion on a school, rather than reading online or in books about the institutions. Arnett said that smaller visits allow him to cater the presentation specifically to intended majors and interests of the kids in attendance.
“One of the major goals is to have students leave the visit with a better understanding of Miami and what we have to offer them both inside and outside the classroom,” Arnett said. “We want students to determine whether or not Miami is a strong fit for them, and if so, we want the visit to make an impression with the students to encourage them to visit campus.”
Visits at high schools have a strong correlation with the number of applications received, Arnett said, so another goal is to see an increase in applications. Arnett presents in over 100 schools around the country from September to November. He analyzes interest data to determine which schools to see.
These presentations make the challenge of the college more feasible, students said.