Category: University Admissions Office Representative

5 Takeaways On Visiting Colleges

We may live on the other side of the world from universities in the US and UK, but some students take the opportunity to go visit in the summer.

College Visits

Why Visit?

Visiting colleges can help you realize if it is the right place for you. You get a chance to connect with Admissions Officers, the mysterious beings who will be reading your applications. Additionally, your experiences can make for some interesting, personalized tidbits in the dreaded Why University essays.
For those venturing out on college trips, here are a few tips!

1) Sign up: Don’t show up unannounced, especially if the college only does tours by reservation. Go to their website and check out what times the Information Session and Campus Tours are. Sign up if you can to make sure you have a spot. Also, sign up for other opportunities if they offer them – sit in on a class, have lunch with a current student or maybe do an overnight visit.

2) Stalk them on Facebook: In this day and age, chances are that the colleges you visit will have an excellent website and a social media presence. Before you visit, read up about the school to get the full experience! Figure out the questions you might have, what you’re interested in. Moreover, you should be ready with questions to impress the tour-guide! Ask them about their experiences their first year -“What is your favorite general education requirement…” or more specific than that “I heard that the business school is adding an entrepreneurship lab, have you had any experience working with it?” Remember, YOU = STUDENT and not mom and dad. Mom and dad should take a back seat, this is your application process, own it.

3) Take Notes & Pictures: College 1 might stand out, but slowly, the differences between colleges 3 through 5 will blur together. Take notes and pictures to remind yourself! This will help later when questions arise. Don’t just note facts either. Saying that you were fascinated by the “14.3% population of international students” is not as impactful as “Rory, our tour guide’s story about Max Hall…” Names of the tour guide, admissions officer, campus buildings is what will set you apart. Pro Tip: Take notes in a notebook instead of on your phone. The info session leader can’t tell if you’re texting or writing notes when you’re on your phone. And no one likes to see an audience member texting away instead of noticing them.

4) Explore the Campus: You’re there! So explore. First, take the tour. That will help you figure out the campus, see the highlights and get to know a lot about the lay of the land. Then, keep time to explore the campus on your own. Have lunch in the dining hall, go check out the library and maybe even see the dorms. Understand how your life as a student would be.

5) Meet the experts: Current Students, Tour Guides and Admissions Officers are the experts on the University, each in their own way. Stop by the admissions office and introduce yourself to the Admissions Officers. If they have a regional admissions officer (which most colleges do), email them before you go to tell them you’re visiting and ask to stop by and say hello. Ask them to connect you to a current student perhaps that you can meet with during your visit. Collect their contact information and send a thank you email after!

Bonus Tip: For Seniors – Don’t Forget to Interview
Interviews are far and few in between for international students, who often don’t get to interact with admissions officers because they don’t always come to India. You’re visiting them, so don’t forget to interview! There are two ways to request an interview

a) Online – while signing up for an information session

b) By emailing them – reach out on the admissions email or contact us email to request an interview when you’re visiting campus. Even if they can’t offer it, the college will make a note you asked and that will be valued when you apply. And, as always, don’t forget to prepare!

5 Takeaways from the Weekend Information Session: Cornell, Columbia, Duke, Georgetown, Northwestern & Princeton

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5 Takeaways from the Weekend Information Session: Cornell, Columbia, Duke, Georgetown, Northwestern & Princeton

This past weekend had a plethora of colleges visiting. While I struggle to fit in 2+ hours of information into 5 takeaways, the post below is meant to give you the juiciest, most important points.

1. Colleges can be surprisingly similar…yet different

While the 6 colleges that visited ranged geographically from Ithaca NY to Raleigh, North Carolina on the East Coast and Northwestern in the Midwest, there were a number of similarities that brought them together

– They were all liberal arts heavy colleges with an emphasis on research: While none of the colleges are pure liberal arts colleges, Columbia’s Core and Princeton’s strong collaboration between the College of Arts and Sciences are testament, but these colleges are all providing for a holistic education. However, it was the specific examples of Duke’s presence in the research triangle (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Research_Triangle) and Northwestern’s investment in The Garage (http://thegarage.northwestern.edu/) that solidified the importance they give to research.

– They were strong residential programs that have tight communities: While Columbia and Georgetown are city schools and their campuses quite a bit smaller than Cornell in New York state, residential communities were a big feature in the presentation. The clincher was Princeton, whose emphasis on community was obvious at the mention of their Alumni weekend, where each year 30,000 or the 100,000 plus alums return to their alma mater.

– They are medium-sized schools: Cornell was the largest with 14000 undergraduates across its 6 schools whereas Princeton was the smallest with 5200 undergraduates, but all the colleges fit comfortably in the middle

2. They want you to connect with them…on Facebook

Shout-out to the Duke presentation for hammering in the importance of Social Media through this process. Setting themselves apart from the others, the Duke presentation was exclusively created from the #dukestudents account on Instagram. Not only did it make for a genuine connection to see actual photos by actual students, it also reinforced that the college may be geographically on the other side of the world but they are really making an effort to connect with prospective students! Follow them on Instagram, like them on Facebook. Even check out their Snapchat stories and YouTube videos. Just because you can’t visit, doesn’t mean you can’t get a sense of what they do.

3. Understand how a University interacts with its Colleges

Cornell has 6 Colleges (maybe 7! Check out the next point), Georgetown 4, Columbia 2…Two points that come out of that – First, make sure you do your research to understand where the major you want to do truly lies. Did you know Cornell’s business program is part of the Dyson School which is currently in the School of Agriculture https://dyson.cornell.edu/? Or that Northwestern offers Computer Science in the College of Arts and Sciences AND in the College of Engineering. Georgetown has a separate school for Foreign Service https://sfs.georgetown.edu/. Second, understand how you need to apply. To a number of colleges, if you want to study Engineering, you must APPLY to the College of Engineering. Princeton is an exception in that it admits you to the University and not to a specific College like Arts and Sciences or Engineering.

4. Figure out what they need

There was a lot of information on this section of requirements, so see the salient points below:

– Some colleges require SAT / ACT Writing while others don’t. Cornell, Georgetown and Northwestern DON’T while Columbia, Duke and Princeton DO require it. Understand what they need or really, be on the safe side and take writing.

Aid and scholarships are treated differently. As Need-Blind colleges Princeton and Georgetown promise to fulfill all need expressed (need, NOT WANT). The others aren’t Need-Blind for International Students. Only Duke, Georgetown and Northwestern offer scholarships, but only Athletic Scholarships for National Level players.

– If APs are not offered as part of the curriculum, they don’t want to see them. They would rather you do something on the extracurricular front than “waste time double-dipping on academics” Direct Quote.

5. Attend more information sessions!

They are coming to see you from across the world, go see them. Sessions like this are great even for admissions counselors like us because we learn what is new every time. For example, Cornell is planning on a SEVENTH college! Taking the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management out of the College of Agriculture, joining forces with the Johnson Graduate School of Business (MBA Program) and School of Hotel Administration to create a brand new College of Business! Stay tuned for more on this https://business.cornell.edu/

Here are the #5Takeaways from the event on the weekend. Stay tuned for more deep dives into each college.


5 Takeaways from the USC Information Session


Missed the USC Information Session in the CollegeCore office on April 19th?  

Unsure if you would have the chance to go visit USC? 

Not sure what the most important thing is on the website virtual tour?

This post is meant to give you the quick and dirty update on important things you may have missed!

1. An Alternative Business Program: The World Bachelor in Business

More than just a buzzword, International Business comes to USC in the form of a partnership with The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Bocconi University (Italy) where a student studies in 3 different countries in four years and graduates with 3 degrees, one from each of the universities, gaining a truly global experience! Learn more – http://www.marshall.usc.edu/undergrad/wbb

2. Dre cares about what you study

Through the Iovine-Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation students can bring together a love of the arts and an opportunity to apply it to business. This is great for students who can’t seem to choose between Music and Math or Screenwriting and the Social Sciences. Learn more – https://news.usc.edu/50816/jimmy-iovine-and-dr-dre-give-70-million-to-create-new-academy-at-usc/ 

3. Prospective Talent Majors, put your Talent first!

For students who truly can’t choose between Music and Math but aren’t interested in Business, advice from the USC admissions officer to put your Talent-Oriented Major first in the major options. This is because the opportunity to submit a portfolio only appears in the application if you indicate it as a first choice. Additionally, if you are a TOM applicant (music, art, dance, theater, filmmaking etc.) your application would be evaluated first on the basis of academic requirements and then would be passed on to the respective departments for a second evaluation on the strength of the portfolio or the audition.

4. Are you as good as Sharma Uncle’s son?

Admissions offices don’t evaluate applications randomly. First, they evaluate you in a pool of applicants from your school. Second, from the city. Then, the country, the pool of international students and lastly, in an overall pool of 54,000 students. This process takes into consideration the peculiarities of an institution in terms of grading and other activities. And it is competitive, so make sure you are up to the mark. The Class of 2020 had 10,000 applicants for 400 seats at Viterbi School of Engineering.

5. The AP Factor

APs do not result in an assured college acceptance letter but they do assure credits. APs allow students to complete General Education Requirements and test out of basic level courses. For IB students, APs (when offered by the school) allow the admissions officer to see that the student pushed themselves. For CBSE and ICSE students, the APs don’t allow for the same but, they do allow the USC admissions officers to compare students across the diverse education systems.

Want to know more on APs? We have more on that coming out in May!

Here are the #5Takeaways for USC Admissions. We’ll be right here with new ones through the year.