Over the last 6 weeks, the College Counseling Office hosted more than 165 college admissions officers on campus. These visits are such an important part of our college counseling program that we wanted to let you know a little more about them.
What are rep visits?
College admissions officers often hit the road during the fall to conduct high school visits and to recruit applicants at local college fairs. Dawson is fortunate to attract so many representatives to campus each year between September and early November.
Why are they so important?
These visits allow our students to learn about colleges from the people who will be reading their applications; they allow the College Counseling team to build relationships with the colleges to which our students apply; they allow college reps to get to know Dawson and the kind of students we produce.
It’s not uncommon for a rep to walk out of a session and rave about the engagement and energy of Dawson students. They also frequently will tell us they remember meeting students the prior year.
Over the years, we get to know the reps, and they get to know our team and the school. This rapport benefits all of our students when they go through the application process.
What happens at a rep visit?
We welcome the admissions officers with a goody bag that contains bottled water, some locally made snacks (Boulder Canyon chips, Celestial Seasonings tea, amazing chocolate bars from our own Miche Bacher), and information about Dawson. For folks who spend weeks on the road, these gifts are much appreciated. The admissions officers will present information about their school and answer questions from our students. Depending on the size of group and the style of the representative, these can be formal presentations or a conversation. Each representative also meets with a member of the College Counseling team so we can share information about Dawson and learn more about the college and new developments from the admissions offices.
When do these visits happen?
Juniors and seniors can attend the meetings. Dawson teachers are gracious enough to allow students to miss class to attend if they give advanced notice and take care of missing work. Visits begin in September but peak during the week of the large college fairs. During that mid-September week, we usually had more than a dozen reps visiting every day.
Ursinus College, in suburban Philadelphia, offers the J.D. Salinger Scholarship for Creative Writing. The winners not only receive a $33,000 annual scholarship, they also get to live in J.D. Salinger’s former dorm room during their first year.
For students looking for a big-campus experience, the University of Alabama offer generous scholarships for students with high GPAs and test scores, and the University of Minnesota waives its application fee for out-of-state students.
Large universities are often able to shrink the feel of their campus for top students through honors colleges. Honors colleges at the University of Oregon, University of Arizona, University of Vermont and many others offer preferential registration, research opportunities and capstone learning experiences that are not available to the school’s general population.
We had more visits from international schools than in previous years. It is becoming increasingly easy for students who want more than just a semester abroad to get a global education. Many UK schools are now on the Common Application, and schools like NYU—with its Shanghai and Abu Dhabi campuses—are expanding into new regions.
Business Analytics, which involves using data to make better decisions in business, seems to be the hot new major on many campuses.
One unfortunate trend is the shrinking gap between in-state tuition at CU Boulder and supposedly more expensive out-of-state options. For example, tuition for a non-resident at Miami of Ohio’s Farmer School of Business is only about $3000/year more than the resident tuition at CU’s Leeds School of Business, which is $32,000/year. Out-of-state tuition at the Culverhouse College of Commerce at the University of Alabama is $4,000/year less than Leeds would be for a Colorado resident.
Schools are placing new emphasis on students’ wellness. The University of Vermont, for example, has a Wellness Environment where students are mentored, rewarded for exercising and eating healthy, and taught mindfulness practices that help them manage stress.
Campbell University has PGA Management Program and Homeland Security Major.
We were visited by schools that offer a wide range of learning styles. Colorado College, Cornell College and Quest University—located in Squamish, British Columbia, “the outdoor recreation capital of Canada”—teach one class at a time in 3-week blocks. St. John’s College in Santa Fe and Annapolis teaches a Great Books curriculum. Evergreen State College and Hampshire College provide narrative evaluations of student work instead of grades.
Sewanee: The University of the South walked away with top honors from the Alumni Factor, a college ranking system that’s based on alumni feedback. Sewanee ranked first for Intellectual Development, first for Social Development and second for Friendship Development. Based on their time on the “Domain,” which is what they call their mountaintop campus, Sewanee alums are among the most likely graduates of any school in the country to recommend their college to prospective students today.
Both Ms. Carson and Ms. Esposito were surprised to learn that their former students are now our college admissions representatives at Colby College and Wake Forest University.
College Rep Visits by the numbers
Colleges visiting Dawson this fall: 166
Students who attended visits: 382 (100+ students averaging 3-4 visits each)
Most miles traveled by a college representative: 8,327. Thanks for coming all this way, University of Sydney!
Countries represented: 6
States represented: 41