09 Dec Finding the Perfect Fit
I came across the following article from It’s What’s Happening@Elon!, Elon University‘s Fall 2012 guide to campus news and events. Kaitlin Carlin, Elon’s Assistant Director of Admissions for Campus Visit writes about Finding the Perfect Fit in the Counselor Corner. Her comments echo the advice I give to my clients as they begin the college and university search journey.[divider]
I’ll admit it: I hate buying jeans. They never fit quite right, the styles change, the colors fade. But once in a blue moon, there is a magical moment when I find a pair that seem to be made for me. I wear those jeans day in and day out, and with each wear they become more “me.” They might be hard to find, but when I do, I have to have them.
The college process can be similar. It starts out exhausting and frustrating, then becomes exhilarating and satisfying. Finding the right school is just the tip of the iceberg; you still have to be admitted. In admissions we constantly talk about “finding the right fit” – but how do you get there and make it your own?
If you’ve already been “shopping” for a college and have a few picked out, the next logical step is to “try it on.” A campus visit gives you a better feel for the school, and helps you develop relationships with the institution and its people. If this is a place where you can truly see yourself, let someone know! Visiting campus is your chance to meet with an admissions representative, if they are available, and give your honest feedback on the school. What is it here that excites you, what activities or majors are you ready to jump into, what concerns do you have or questions we can answer? These conversations help the admissions office get to know you on a personal level, and also tell us that you’re paying attention. Just as much as you, we want to form a relationship with the right people for the right purpose.
This relationship shouldn’t be limited to the campus visit. Pick up your admissions counselor’s card, and stay in touch! Being able to reinforce names, faces, questions and passions with an application can make a huge difference. If you see an admissions counselor at a college fair, stop by and say hello.
After “trying on” the college, you may be ready to apply and make it yours. Elon is looking for a smart student, but one who also has a great heart and commitment to character. It can be difficult to make your academics stand out beyond what you’re already doing in high school. Where you can make a difference is in the essay. No need to be wildly creative for its own sake and no need to tell a sob story either. Effectively answer the question to the best of your ability, but also take time to tell us about your experiences, passions, personality and character. Can’t fit everything into the essay? Use the personal statement. This is often overlooked, but utilizing the personal statement space to write more about you can really make a difference. Remember, we will see your academic profile and list of activities in the application itself. Think about what is key to your good heart, and tell us all about it.
It’s my greatest hope you find a school that, just like my favorite jeans, fits like a glove. Though the shopping and fitting process can be difficult and time consuming, it is SO worth it when you get to take that college home and call it your own.