As you go through the college planning process, you’ll deal with adults who have some influence on your future. How you handle these encounters can make all the difference.
Frequently, the college admissions process seems quite impersonal, but there are many interactions with college representatives, admissions officers, alumni and high school teachers. This is where manners and appropriate behavior play a role.
Read on to find out the five areas of college admissions where manners do matter:
Students usually ask high school teachers for college recommendations. Obviously, if teachers are asked to write a recommendation in the spring of your junior year, they have plenty of time to get this done during the summer. If, on the other hand, you wait until the recommendation is almost due, many teachers resent the rush and pressure to get the job done quickly. Teachers are busy people, and they’re doing you a favor. It’s important to thank them for taking the time to write you a letter. Don’t forget about your counselor, too.
Students don’t always use the best judgment on their Facebook pages or other networking sites. Before you apply to college, clean up anything that could jeopardize your opportunities for college acceptance. Colleges DO care what you post and show online. If it’s inappropriate, there’s a good possibility it will be noted on your college application. A surprising number of college admissions officers reported social media sites have had a negative impact on a student’s possibilities for college admission. Don’t take that chance. It’s poor manners to say things online that you might regret later.
Email and cellphones
It’s wise for students to have a separate email address for all college correspondence. Your current address might be cute but doesn’t convey the image you want to project to colleges. It’s also smart to review your cellphone message. College representatives will often contact students on their cellphones to set up interviews. Most college reps would like to know that they’ve reached the student for which the call was intended. If the college representative hears blaring music, he or she may not know whether to leave a message. You might miss an important opportunity to connect with someone from a school that interests you. Also, know how to answer a phone. When asked, “Is this Rob?” say, “Yes, this is he,” not “Yeah, this is him.” First impressions count.
If you have a chance to interview with someone from a college or university, by all means do it. Dress appropriately, and be prepared with a few questions you would like to ask about the school. Arrive at the interview at least 10 minutes early. College officers are busy and can’t wait if you’re late. It’s important to meet your interviewer with a firm handshake. You should also maintain good eye contact throughout the interview. When you return home, it’s polite to send a thank-you note, not an email. Ask your interviewer for a business card so you know where to send the note. Show interest in the school and listen to what the interviewer has to say.
College admissions committees like to accept students who show an interest in their school. One of the best ways to do this is through a college visit. Call in advance to set up a tour, information session and possible interview. Avoid using your cellphone or texting while you are visiting a college campus. Pay attention to the guide, and don’t talk with other people during the tour. Colleges realize that you’re a teenager and don’t expect you to act like an adult all the time. However, they do want to know that you can demonstrate appropriate behavior and know how to conduct yourself, so keep in mind that manners are important for college admissions.