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The Campanile

How to nail your next college visit

Senior year is synonymous with many things. Camouflage clothing, winning spirit week and having an entire semester to do nothing are just a few of the perks that the longest-tenured class at Paly enjoys. But there’s something that represents senior year just as much as second semester “sick” periods and custom spirit week jerseys: college.

The college application process has many parts, but one of the most important is the quintessential college rep visit, during which a representative from a college visits your school. Whether you’re attending these to learn more about the college, fill out a demonstrated interest form or just to get out of your math quiz, this college rep visit guide will help you with each and every aspect of the process.

The first thing that you’ll have to do is pick up your “pass back to class” form from the College and Career Center (CCC), which is due exactly a day in advance of the visit itself. I like to fill out my form five minutes before the visit starts (shoutout to the CCC moms for letting me in anyway). Next, make your way to the CCC, a small room in the Tower Building that hosts college rep visits.

However, it should be duly noted that the CCC’s seating is limited to a few fold out chairs and a couch, so you’ll need to either show up early or camp outside if you want to sit during your visit. But that’s ok. We get it. It’s not like there’s a $50 million theater that can seat hundreds close by.

Once the college rep arrives, it’s time for the real part of the visit to start. Introduce yourself with that hearty handshake you learned during advisory and state your name and intended major with pride. During college rep visits, the key is to get the college rep to remember you, and this is as good a time as any to make a great first impression. Picking an obscure major like Bowling Industry Management or Canadian Studies is sure to leave a lasting impression, and best of all, sets you apart from the rest of the applicants right from the start.

Next come the all-important demonstrated interest forms, which is the reason half of the people are in the room. Fill out the card (make sure your handwriting is clear) and hand the card in. Again, the goal is to stand out, so make sure to find a way to be different while filling out the form. I like to fill out my form in a combination of Swahili, Finnish and Morse Code to show colleges how multicultural and ethnic I am.

After some time, your college rep will start describing the college itself. You’ll learn all kinds of crazy things during this section, like the fact the college has majors and minors, intramural sports and great dining options with, of course, an innovative meal point system. You might also find out that the college has Greek life, but what’s on campus is “nothing like stereotypical fraternities or sororities.” Whatever that means.

Finally, there’s the last and arguably most important portion of the college rep visit: the Q & A session. Think of this as a game. You have to ask as many questions as you can. Was the answer to your question directly covered in the talk? Doesn’t matter! Ask it anyway. The goal of this visit is to stand out, and the easiest way to stand out in a college rep visit is to ask a truckload of useless questions that they just answered five minutes earlier. Trust me, there’s nothing colleges love more than poor listening comprehension.

With these tips in hand, I’m sure you’ll leave your next rep visit feeling happy, confident, and most importantly, standing out from everyone else.

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