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College Visit and Interview

    It is important to visit colleges in which you have the greatest interest. From four to six college visits will usually be enough for helpful comparisons; any more may just confuse matters. The spring of your junior year is a good time to visit colleges. Most colleges offer tours and interviews in the summer and fall. When you visit, make sure that you are prepared. Read what the College Advisor has to say on the college; peruse the college catalog and other literature.

     Call before you visit to find out the schedule for tours and interviews. Most tours and interviews take an hour each. You should allow about three hours for a campus visit. An ideal visit would include a tour, an interview and then free time. The last would allow you time to check out parts of the campus that hold special appeal or interest. If you have a special talent or interest, you may want to meet with the appropriate person on campus. This may only be possible when the college is in session. Usually the admissions office can help you make these arrangements by calling a coach or a professor.

     An integral but often misunderstood part of the visit is the interview. Keep in mind that there are two types of on-campus interviews: group and personal. Many colleges offer both, but appointments for personal interviews may require several weeks notice. Group interviews, on the other hand, usually require little advance notice. These are information sessions at which admissions staff members provide candidates and their parents with a short, descriptive talk on the college and an opportunity to ask questions.

     The format of a personal interview can vary greatly, but most often it involves a conversation between student and interviewer. In addition to providing information, the personal interview involves an evaluation of the student. The importance of the evaluation will vary from college to college, but the rule of thumb is that at smaller schools and at private colleges, the personal interview has more impact on the decision than at larger schools or public institutions. Some interviews are designed to be information gathering sessions for the prospective freshman.

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