Parents Speaking With College Admissions Representatives

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pat_Smith_ond17By Dr. Patricia H. Smith 

College Admissions Representatives are eager to meet and talk with prospective students who are interested in attending their schools. They are also interested in meeting and talking with parents of these students. Speaking with college admissions representatives gives parents the opportunity to have their specific questions answered, advocate for their children, and show their commitment in the college selection process.  

Communicating with College Representatives 

As a parent, you can speak with college admissions representatives during campus visits, information sessions, college fairs, and high school visits. Please note that a college admissions representative is generally assigned to a geographical location or region; as well as, your child’s school. These representatives are the first to read the application, rate it against a prescribed set of criteria, and write a summary comment.  

According to Julia Ehlis, Assistant Director of the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at the University of Pittsburgh, there is a benefit to speaking with parents because it provides the opportunity to learn what is important to families. Moreover, when communicating with both parents and students she can answer specific questions on topics such as financial aid, internships, work study, college fit and personalized education.  

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Making a Good First Impression

Speaking with a college representative is an opportunity for students to make a good first impression and to get their questions answered. Therefore, it is important not to silence your students’ voices but to let them advocate for themselves. Prior to speaking with college representatives, you may want to develop questions and decide who will ask the questions. Remember as a parent, the goal of the encounter with the college representative is not taking charge of the process but asking questions that are important to your family and your peace of mind such as campus safety, financial aid and scholarship opportunities, employment and internship opportunities, etc. Here are some suggested questions you and your student may want to ask the college admissions representatives:

“What is the campus atmosphere like at your school? What do students do in the evenings and weekends?”

“What do students and parents like most about your college?” 

Ask if the rep can provide the names of students and parents with whom you could talk with so that you can get a sense of the college from someone who is already there.

How accessible are faculty to students? 

If your student has a learning issue, ask about the college’s learning services.

Before you end the meeting with the college representative, you may want your student to say: It was so nice to meet you and hear about [name of school]. Thank you for taking the time. We are hoping to visit your campus sometime in the future. May we please have your business card? We would love to keep in touch.

A Warm Heart

Parents, this is your chance to have meaningful conversations with representatives from the colleges that your students are considering. These representatives know key information about the colleges, and they are willing to share their knowledge with parents. After all, they want total family buy in. 

While seeking to get your questions answered, remember that college representatives want to interact with your students.  It will warm your heart and help with selecting a college that is family friendly when you see your students comfortably interacting with college admissions representatives; and that these representatives are attentive and interested in helping your students learn about their colleges. It will be at those moments that you will understand what a good college fit looks like for your family.  

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