College acceptance season is in full swing. Web portals have gone live, letters are in the mail, and our high school seniors are facing one of their first big decisions as young adults: Which college do I choose to attend?
The next few weeks will be exciting and busy. Many families will visit college campuses to attend on-campus admitted student events. For some students this will be their first time on the campus, while others will be visiting for a second or third time. Catalogs will be reviewed, statistics analyzed, financial aid offers considered and compared.
As the parent of a college freshman, I understand that your main concern is that your teen find a place where they can be happy, a place where they will thrive and succeed.
I am also a longtime Alumnae Admissions Representative for my alma mater, and in the bustle of the coming weeks, I urge you and your student not to overlook one very important admitted student event: The off-campus admitted student reception.
Information about admitted student events should be included in the acceptance packet and will also be sent to your student by email. An RSVP will be required.
Often held right in your neighborhood, these regionally hosted gatherings — whether in a hotel or at an alum’s home — offer invaluable insight into a school and its community.
These events are often attended by members of the college’s admissions office. In this small and informal setting, you and your student can ask questions and even spend one-on-one time with an admissions counselor. And remember, now the tables have turned. While your child was awaiting the colleges’ decisions, the schools were in control. Now, as an admitted student, your teen is a powerful player in this process. The school is eager to answer your questions and ensure you are all well informed.
Regional admitted student events offer the opportunity to meet people from your area who are in your exact situation…and these young men and women might be your child’s future classmates.
In addition, current students as well as local alumni may be on hand at these regional gatherings, and are eager to speak with you. Current students can offer extremely important information about:
- Classroom environment and housing
- How students interact with faculty
- Details about the social life on campus
- Availability of courses your student might be interested in
- Extracurricular opportunities at the school
These current students are usually from your neck of the woods, and can also suggest the best ways to travel back and forth from campus. And local alumni are truly a wealth of knowledge. These passionate school representatives offer a unique perspective on what attending a particular school might mean to your child 10, 20 or even 30 years from now — they’ll be happy to tell you how they’ve used their college education and experience to propel them into careers and graduate studies. As an added bonus, if your son or daughter does choose to attend this particular school, these local alumni can be valuable connections later on during the search for summer internships or full-time employment.
Finally, regional admitted student events offer the opportunity to meet people from your area who are in your exact situation. You can ask them what they are thinking about the school, and what other options they are considering. Listen to the questions they ask to get a feel for what’s important to other prospective students. These are the young men and women who might be your child’s future classmates. Are they interesting and engaging? Can your student picture studying, socializing and perhaps even rooming with them?
Regionally hosted admitted student events offer a unique opportunity for students to learn much more about a college, connect with current students and local alumni, and meet potential future classmates. I can attest from personal experience, both as a parent and as an involved alumna, that these local get-togethers are hugely helpful for newly admitted students and their families. It’s an opportunity I urge you to consider in these final days of what has surely been a long, emotional, often arduous, but ultimately empowering journey to launch our children into this next stage of life.