You’ve whittled your college list down to a few top choices, and you can’t wait to set foot on each campus. Unfortunately, the days seem to be creeping by until your visit next month. What’s a soon-to-be college freshman to do? Tide yourself over with an online admission chat.
Whether it’s time or money standing between you and a “real” campus visit, online chats are a great way to get a better feel for any college as you interact with admissions reps, financial aid staff, and/or current students. It’s an opportunity to ask a few of your most burning questions and find out what’s on the minds of potential classmates.
Step One: Find Your Chat
Colleges want you to learn more about life on campus, so they make chats easy to find. Simply log onto the school’s website and plug “online chats” into the search box. This often turns up a schedule complete with dates and times. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Try calling the college’s toll-free admissions number and asking about online chats for prospective students.
Take a close look at your options. Many schools offer chats on a range of topics, including student life and financial aid. You’ll need to decide what you’re most curious about—and who you want to talk with most. If you’re still in the application process, you might want to chat with admissions staff to ask about your GPA or test scores. Worried about how you’ll fit in on campus? Current students can tell you whether it’s a soccer playing paradise or a budding actor’s dream.
Step Two: Do Your Homework
You wouldn’t show up for an important test without studying, so it’s only natural to spend a few minutes preparing for this virtual conversation. First, check to see if the school’s website includes an archive of past chats. Reading through these exchanges can give you a better idea of how these chats unfold and may even answer some of your questions beforehand.
Depending on how long a chat lasts and how many students log on, you may only have the chance to ask one or two questions. This makes it key to think about what you want to know ahead of time. Spend 10 or 15 minutes brainstorming a list of questions then take another few minutes to rank them by importance. Keep this list in front of you once the chat starts, and you’ll be one step closer to moving into the dorms!