During the fall, most admission offices focus on recruitment. Individual counselors travel the country to visit individual high schools, attend local, regional, and national college fairs, and put on special events/programs. Staying in hotels becomes the norm. We live out of suitcases rather than apartments/homes. Our relationships become long distance. Having time to do laundry, go grocery shopping, and catch up on your endless list of DVR’d/TIVO’d shows is a luxury. Since the second week of September I have traveled to Ohio to visit high schools, Seattle to visit high schools and attend a national admission conference, Chicago to visit high schools, participate in college fairs, and host an evening program, and I have been back-and-forth to Richmond four times to visit high schools. Basically, I’ve taken the show on the road but with a twist.
When I visit individual high schools or host evening programs I try to flip the script. When prospective students visit our campus — our backyard — we have a song and dance prepared. We present an information session and a campus tour all of which have been beautifully organized. However, when I visit students in their backyard I make them ask me questions. I can talk about W&M for hours but I may not address whatever is most important to the individual student. So my advice to you is this, have some questions in your back pocket. Take advantage of the admission counselor’s expertise and availability. Ask what you’ve always wanted to ask. No question is silly if it helps you to make an informed decision. Typcial questions are great but here are a few unique questions I’ve received of late.
- Give me a concrete example of one Friday or Saturday night on campus. What did you do? Where did you go? Who were you with?
- What kind of shoes do W&M students typically wear (this young woman thought shoes said a lot about their wearers and I thought the question was insightful. To her, the answer got at various qualities of the typical W&M student).
- What is dating life like?
- What would you change/what don’t you like?
- If W&M were a vegetable, what vegetable would it be (I’m still trying to come up with an answer for this one).
- Tell me about your favorite and least favorite professor.
- What kind of essays do you like to read? Are there any essays that stand out in your mind as good essays?
- How optional is “optional.”
- What is one piece of advice you would give a senior about completing the application?
- What effect did going to W&M have on you?
– Wendy Livingston