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Disappointed - Bad AO encounters

chmcnmchmcnm 166 replies3 threads Junior Member
edited October 15 in Parents Forum
Most of our encounters with AO's have been good to excellent but my son has had two bad one's recently. Both were off-campus interviews. I'm really disappointed. While not his first choices they could've been nice fits.

The first AO said that the school was focused on STEM only, not business, which isn't true. He pretty much threw the business school under the bus. The new business dean was one of my MBA professors years ago. Excellent professor so I doubt the business school is bad. Crossed off the list.

The second AO asked my son what would be the first thing he would do on campus. My son said something harmless like "unpack and get a Chick-fil-a". The AO proceeded to tell him that he would get a beer and how easy it was to get fake id's to drink at his school. I thought it was a little funny but kept it to myself. Crossed off the list.

Anyone else have bad AO stories?
edited October 15
56 replies
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Replies to: Disappointed - Bad AO encounters

  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29583 replies58 threads Senior Member
    Understand that you and your student highly unlikely to be doing much business with the AO once matriculated at the school. It’s a dang shame that college does not have its best foot forward in this regard, but I would not cross a school of the list for that reason unless it was horribly bad and damaging. I’d also give the presidents’ office give feedback about this. Certainly tell the business professor you know and the business dept how they are being portrayed by Admissions
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  • MWolfMWolf 1668 replies10 threads Senior Member
    @chmcnm No stories of my own to tell, but wow. Just, wow.

    I do agree with @cptofthehouse, though - don't cross off a school just because they have an AO who doesn't know their stuff or is appropriateness-challenged.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34480 replies382 threads Senior Member
    Are you certain these were AOs? Or were they alum interviewers?
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  • chmcnmchmcnm 166 replies3 threads Junior Member
    edited October 15
    They were AO’s in our city for college fairs.

    I wish he’d keep them on the list but too late. Damage done. Valuable lesson for kids that first impressions are important.
    edited October 15
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7584 replies61 threads Senior Member
    Two bad experiences with AOs when our D was looking at schools during their admissions presentations. One told the group that their HS gpas and test scores didn't matter because anyone could get into a satellite campus and then transfer to main later. He kept emphasizing the high percentage of transfer students. Turn off to D.

    The second school was the opposite. The AO and the student co-leading the presentation came across as pretentious and affected. The student actually talked about his family yacht and how awesome that there were so many people like him at the school. Even a bigger turn off.


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  • milgymfammilgymfam 890 replies15 threads Member
    My daughter was recently asked for a Skype meeting with an AO. She rearranged her schedule to fit into his, and got a Skype account. And then he didn’t call, or answer his phone or Skype. He eventually called her over two hours later- at nearly ten thirty pm and said oops, I let my phone die. There was another negative interaction with this school first but she was done with them after that.
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  • SJ2727SJ2727 1951 replies6 threads Senior Member
    Disappointing rather than bad: D19 had organized an interview with one of the AOs who was in town for the college presentations. They had limited slots so she was excited to get one. She prepared for it by reading up on some typical college interview questions. What disappointed her was that the AO had clearly done the same and asked her all questions basically off the first page of google results! (Including “if you could be a color, what would you be?”) She thought it showed a lack of enthusiasm and interest on the part of the AO.
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2344 replies43 threads Senior Member
    DD and about a dozen other students were blown off by an AO (moderately selective school, not in top 100) who was supposed to come and do an info session at her school. No phone call, no apology. Just a dozen students who gave up their study hall or lunch to be there.

    So DD crossed that one off the list. Hasty? Maybe. However when a simple two-minute email of apology to the group would have salvaged the situation, DD is right to question how she would be treated once matriculated.
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  • MusakParentMusakParent 1022 replies9 threads Senior Member
    Issues we had were that an AO would tell us one thing about a program. And when we directly asked faculty, we were told a different thing. This was in relation to music programs set in colleges/university. It was a pretty rude awakening in a couple cases.

    So ask hard questions. See if you get the same answer from an AO, a student, and a faculty member.
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  • mathmommathmom 32457 replies159 threads Senior Member
    No stories, but the OP should let the head of the admissions office know what happened. Especially if those schools are now off the list.
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  • EmptyNestSoon2EmptyNestSoon2 39 replies0 threads Junior Member
    How unfortunate!! I agree, some of these stories show very inappropriate, rude, or ill-informed responses. And schools should be very careful in their hiring and training to avoid these situations.

    But cptofthehouse is absolutely correct. It is way too hasty to cross schools off of a list due to the actions of one person. That includes AOs, or the student tour guide, etc. Especially in the case of AOs, they frequently didn’t even attend the school. They may be new, or just plain weird for whatever reason. But AOs are not a part of your school experience at all. To cross off a school because of them does not make sense. For example, if you do research and find the business school part of that college actually is quite strong, why does it matter that this AO wrongly implied otherwise? I do not believe that is indicative of the treatment you will receive overall from the college. If you met with 10 professors, and they were all arrogant and pretentious, then I would be concerned, as professors will be part of your experience. But an AO? They won’t be. Same with student tour guides. There is such a range of students on campus, if you get paired up with one who you either love or dislike, it shouldn’t sway you too much. Getting a sense of “fit” requires much more research and conversations. Don’t depend too much on one interaction. I would never give up a dream school because one person was 2 hours late for an interview. That’s absolutely rude, but that says nothing about how your experience on campus would be. It gives way too much power to that one person. Similarly, if the AO is a brilliant angel, that doesn’t mean the school will be perfect at all. It is hard not to be affected by impressions we get from these people, but it is important to keep our minds open and do more research.

    Lots of good lessons here....on one hand, it does remind us all that first impressions are powerful. But I would also hope my kids would learn to not judge an entire university experience based on interactions/information from one person (whether it is positive or negative).
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4420 replies18 threads Senior Member
    Wow, telling your kid to go drinking... Hmmmm....

    I would definitely report thdt5.

    This rings true as said on campus tours. Don't let the blah tour kid give you the wrong impression of the school. Definitely check facts especially due dates and such. Well meaning people make mistakes. Honestly when I really want to know something I or my kid will just email the head or assistant head of said department. Like to get it in writing from the people who should know
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  • PublisherPublisher 8510 replies91 threads Senior Member
    OP: Why assume that the STEM school rep was being less than honest & accurate with you ? Seems as though this can be viewed as valuable insight worthy of further investigation.
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  • 3kids2dogs3kids2dogs 154 replies18 threads Junior Member
    We were at a college fair recently and the representative (not sure what her title was) of a large Big10 school (of which my husband is an alum) was such a turn off. She would answer questions with the most superficial answers she could with absolutely no detail unless you asked another, more probing question. It was as if she were in court and her attorney advised her to "just answer the question". It was like pulling teeth - she wasn't unfriendly or rude, but it just would not have left a good impression if we knew nothing about the school.

    Can you tell me about your study abroad program? Yes, we have study abroad.
    Can you tell me more about out of state academic scholarships? Yes, we have them.
    OK, what scores do you need to qualify? It varies year to year
    OK, what scores did you need to qualify last year? Those aren't published yet.
    OK, what are the most recently published academic statistics relative to out of state academic scholarships (grrr....)?
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  • chmcnmchmcnm 166 replies3 threads Junior Member
    edited October 20
    @Publisher. It's possible but I doubt it. The school is consistently ranked on all the business school ratings. The dean was also one of my professors in grad school. Excellent teacher. I doubt he would be there unless he thought it was headed in the right direction.

    Like everyone has said "don't rush to judgement". I wouldn't let one person throw me off but try that with a 17 year-old. These schools weren't in his top 5 so that might be part of it but I would've liked to at least go visit and make sure either way. I'm working on it.
    edited October 20
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  • PublisherPublisher 8510 replies91 threads Senior Member
    I think that I know the school (CWRU) based on one of your prior posts. Still worth investigating, in my opinion.

    Seems as though the AO was just sharing his or her honest opinion with you. While not good PR, honesty should be appreciated. Did your son ask further questions on this topic ? Perhaps the AO is aware of something that is not common knowledge.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4420 replies18 threads Senior Member
    So one issue we had was with UChicago at a large mutiscchool College fair.

    My son had done the tour and met with two professors there to gather more information. Great school /campus but they didn't have engineering that he wanted to pursue (know about molecular).

    But when the room opened he was going to use UChicago as practice. He doesn't make a lot of eye contact kinda thing. So I told him use this day to practice that life skill and of course gather information about the schools he likes.

    He goes right up, puts out his hand for a handshake, looks right into her eyes and introduced himself... Awesome... She asks "do you have any questions". He says "no, I just visited there and met with two professors". "I just wanted to see what material you had here". She says" So, your telling me you know everything about UChicago"? She goes on.... "I have worked here for 30 years and I am still learning about it". Said this sternly.It was like she got up on the wrong side of the bed thing. We politely said thank you and walked away...

    We were like dumbfounded but we laughed about it since it was so wrong and the rest of the day he was totally at ease shaking people's hands and looking at the face... This was 3 years ago..

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  • AboutTheSameAboutTheSame 3124 replies47 threads Senior Member
    edited October 20
    @chmcnm : If you know and trust the dean of the business school based on your own experience, why would you cross a school off the list because of an ignorant AO? That makes no sense to me. I would reach out to my former professor before I made a decision on that basis.
    edited October 20
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  • chmcnmchmcnm 166 replies3 threads Junior Member
    edited October 20
    @Publisher you’re correct. It was CWRU.

    @AboutTheSame i thought about it several times. If it was one of his top choices I would’ve followed up immediately. Pick your battles thing.

    I agree with pretty much everyone’s comments. I talked to S20 about keeping an open mind. He’s done that with other schools so not concerned too much.
    edited October 20
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