Growing up, I was always labeled the talkative one in class. So it was very surprising when I clammed up during a meet and greet at my first college visit.

I had always been comfortable meeting new people, but this interaction felt very different. I was acutely aware that the person in front of me would be judging every aspect of my life in just a few short months.

Now that I sit on the opposite side of that table, I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to calm down. While admissions visits do hold some weight in the application process, officers are nowhere near as judgmental as you might think.

Remember they’re on your side.

One thing I find helpful to reiterate to any student with pre-meeting jitters is that everyone in admissions is rooting for you. Admissions officers spend countless hours poring over application materials and conducting information sessions. With so much time spent managing application volume, these individuals go into every meeting hoping that the student will be a valuable use of their time.

Make your communications meaningful.

But how can you ensure that you don’t waste their time? It's simple, really: do your homework! Going into that meeting with a basic understanding of the school and why you are a good fit makes all the difference. In preparing for a conversation with admissions, think of the following:

    • How will this school help you achieve your goals?
    • What will their curriculum offer you that others might not?
    • How do you see yourself getting involved on campus?

The biggest mistake students can make is being unprepared. Do your research beforehand. You should not ask an admissions officer anything that you could easily Google for yourself—that includes basic application details like deadlines and required materials!

Use email as an alternative.

If you can’t make it to an in-person meeting, emailed communication can be just as impactful. Most admissions offices will track every point of contact an applicant has with the school, which includes written correspondence. By asking thoughtful questions that show your genuine interest, you can put your best foot forward while also retrieving more detailed information for your applications.

Let your true self shine through.

It’s also helpful to remember that admissions officers understand you are still a high school student. While some people may be comfortable walking into any social situation, they understand that not everyone is quite so extroverted, particularly as a teenager! College campuses are meant to be diverse, not just in terms of background, but also in the way students engage with each other. So be genuine; be your normal awkward self. Admissions officers don’t want robots, we just want to connect with the real you!

For more tips on the college process, check out our Guide to College Admissions!