Starting Early: Four Tips For Success During College Process


Emma Lambiaso, Staff Writer

It’s Junior year and the college brochures have started flooding your mailbox. However, you are a little lost on where to start your search. Don’t worry, this article is just what you need.


Demonstrated Interest

What is demonstrated interest? Many high school students do not know this term, but as admissions counselors will eventually tell you, demonstrated interest can make or break your acceptance to the schools you are applying to. To exhibit your enthusiasm for a college, it is important to go to admissions events for that institution if at all possible. This can include college tours, admission information sessions, college fairs, admissions visits to your school, interviews (either at the college or by an alumnus in your area), and open houses. Attending these events can benefit both students and admissions counselors in a few different ways. 

Open Houses

In my personal experience of the college process, I have found open houses to be the most beneficial way to learn about a college or university for these three reasons. To start, open houses are a great way to meet not only the college admissions staff but academic faculty as well. If you go on a regular tour, chances are classes are in session or professors are too busy to talk. Generally, open houses are scheduled on weekends so that faculty and students are able to chat with the interested students. In addition, the campus is more open, hence the title of an open house, meaning that more of the campus facilities are unlocked and available for visitors to check out. Both of these factors are an excellent way to get to know the academic curriculum of an intended major, as well as the environment to which you will be studying and living in for the next four years.

Go to school admissions counselor visits

If you do not have the opportunity to visit a university yourself, admissions counselor visits hosted at your school are a great way to learn about a university. It allows students to show demonstrated interest while also giving them the chance to ask specific questions face to face with an immediate answer. It is a more intimate environment, separate from the hustled frenzy of college tours and open houses. Some schools, usually if they are on the smaller side, will even give out application fee waivers, which equate to about a $30-$60 value. These visits are often the last chance to meet with a representative of a school before you submit early applications, so take advantage of this opportunity! You’ll even be excused from class to attend.

Take notes when you visit a college

This is a very popular piece of parental advice, often ignored by their children. I didn’t believe it was all that important to take notes until it was too late. After you have seen many different schools, all the facts and figures start to blend together in your head. Then, when you go to narrow down your list, it is difficult to sort through the schools. It is extremely helpful to jot down what stands out to you about a school, either while on campus or immediately when you get home. 


Remember, there are steps in place to help you make your decisions! If you ever feel overwhelmed, take a few breaths and relax. It’s all going to be okay, and with these tips, you are one step ahead of everyone else!