First Set of College Visits-Is "Meeting with Dept. Rep" an interview?

<p>On Monday, Son and I leave to visit three schools. He and his dad will do another 4 schools in a few weeks. We haven't set up any actual "admissions interviews" but some of the schedules have things like "Meeting with Psychology Department Representative" and "Meeting with Honors Coordinator."</p>

<p>Since he hasn't yet applied to those schools, are those truly informational meetings, or might they also be interviews, where notes are taken about my son? If so, I guess his dress shouldn't be shorts and a polo.</p>

<p>Not interviews at a lot of schools. At D's school, had info visit, then she scheduled interview after sending in app. Think that's way it works at most schools- apply, then interview.</p>

<p>Meetings with department reps are not formal interviews. Son did several such meetings in tandem with regular campus visits. He wore jeans and a polo, never the khaki/dress shirt combination he wore to formal interveiws with local area alumni.</p>

<p>I'd still say practice the handshake, eye contact and appropriate greeting stuff. You never know when a casual encounter will turn into the connection your student will want to follow up on, for any number of reasons. Have him ask for a business card, and follow up with a thank you note/email or whatever you can get him to do....</p>

<p>"I'd still say practice the handshake, eye contact and appropriate greeting stuff."</p>

<p>Yeah, we'll certainly do that. Son has Aspgerger's so those kind of things definitely get coached at home. Also, that is why the first school we are visiting is the one he is probably the least likely to attend....kind of a practice run.</p>

<p>^^Totally agree with riverrunner's suggestions. I was responding only to your question about the dress code.</p>

<p>My d walked into one of those informational meetings with the department at Upenn and it turned out to also be an informal interview. She asked a lot of questions and was asked a lot as well - it was a 45 minute meeting and she did very well despite not expecting it.</p>

<p>Same thing happened to us at a college visit. Actually, I think it was good - D was not so stressed as she might have been had she been anticipating an "admissions interview".</p>

<p>These people have a lot of experience, and know how to put kids at ease and draw information out of them. I wouldn't worry about it.</p>

<p>If these meetings are set up through the admissions people, think of them as part of the admissions process -- maybe not as meaningful as the formal interview, but maybe more so given that faculty with whom your son would be working will be meeting him and may well comment on him to the admissions people who set up the interview. </p>

<p>Only one of my kids did meetings like this with faculty members, but she found them less stressful than general, anything-goes admissions interviews because they tended to focus on her areas of interest (which she shared with the faculty she was meeting), so it was much easier to talk about their mutual interests, to find out what the university had to offer, and to show genuine enthusiasm for schools' offerings in her area. Talking about the things that interested her and asking about what different professors were doing in those areas came much more naturally to her than more open-ended interviews. </p>

<p>Finally, if you can find out who, specifically, your son is going to meet with, you can look them up and find out their areas of interest, the classes they teach, and their research, and this could be helpful going into the meetings.</p>

Finally, if you can find out who, specifically, your son is going to meet with, you can look them up and find out their areas of interest, the classes they teach, and their research, and this could be helpful going into the meetings.

Excellent advice. D was a master at the "well prepared" impromptu interview (and e-mail follow-up when warranted). This is helpful even when you are walking around campus and are introduced to a prof in your area of interest. Or you just so happen to be wandering around near the bio or chem labs. </p>

<p>I understand we probably went overboard but we had read a whole bunch about each campus (mostly internet stuff, their website) before visiting and while driving reviewed all of it again. </p>

<p>I'm not suggesting that level of commitment for everyone but learning a bit separates you from the hordes of "duh......uhh.....umm......duh" students who come through there, too. D and I viewed every meeting as an opportunity not to be squandered. But we still had a ball with our critiques and impressions sent by special signals and eyerolls get the picture. ;)</p>

<p>Treat EVERY meeting as an interview.</p>

<p>My younger d. had a "non-evaluative" informational interview ("interviews not considered" - they say) at a school which was a far reach (her ACTs would put her likely in the bottom 15%). It was scheduled for 15 minutes and was with the international admissions counselor. It went for an hour. At the end of the day, when we asked about work-study, she overheard the question, came out of her office, and basically offered my d. a job.</p>

<p>She got in, and a year later, when she wrote about the job, the admissions officer said that not only did she remember her, but had the picture from her interview packet hanging on her board. (Her job is likely to start this August.)</p>

<p>I agree with Mini, completely. You just never know who remembers what. However, I do want to add, that you should not have the expectation that it is going to be a big impact item for admissions. I've known kids who have been so crushed after speaking with a prof, coach, admissions person who were so positive and encouraging, and then they were rejected.</p>

<p>More and more colleges are setting up meetings with faculty for prospective students because research has shown that prospective students who have a chance to interact with faculty when they visit are more likely to apply and enroll if admitted. It might help to keep this in mind: these visits are as much about the school marketing to the student as they are about the student marketing to the school.</p>

<p>Of course, it is always wise to treat all of your interactions on campus as important. Meetings with faculty can give you a head start in terms of answering those pesky "Why this college?" essays, and it is not unheard of for faculty to sometimes sit on admissions committees or put in a good word for a particularly promising applicant. </p>

<p>But, for the most part, these sorts of interactions are not going to directly affect your admissions chances.</p>

<p>Well, leg 1 of the college visit road trip is over. I hope the meetings didn't count for much because I could hardly get Son to say a word. I had really underestimated the impact of his Asperger's on the college visits....three days of being in new places, meeting new people and being expected to look them in the eye and interact with them really took a toll on him.</p>

<p>so sorry, missy. If it's any comfort, lots of kids without Asperger's have touble connecting with the adults on these visits. I would guess he won't stand out as particularly odd, just a typical, somewhat shy high school student.</p>

<p>Riverunner, I was thinking of starting a thread on the topic of "Should I out him?" My inclination is not to tell folks at a college before he's admitted, unless he chooses to write about it in an essay. But he certainly must appear ODD to those he meets. He's not "out there" like some Aspies I know, and we've taught him to have a firm handshake, but he has a unique way of speaking, is bad a small talk, eye contact, etc.</p>

<p>He is going with his dad on the leg no. 2 in a few weeks. Now that I've "seen him in action", I think I'll pretty much provide him with a script/list of questions to ask in the shouldn't seem to odd for him to pull out a notepad when he sits down to talk to these folks.</p>

<p>We've got to figure out a way for him to explain his passion for psychology without disclosing the Asperger's, since he apparently does not want to disclose it. One Psych Dept. prof was really grilling him on why he thought he wanted to be a diagnostician if he's never worked/volunteered in the field, etc. The REAL answer, of course, is that he's been on the other side of the table from the diagnostician, and he thinks it looks like a cool job.</p>

<p>Most kids go through admissions without having any of these meetings with professors. I'd include many schools that have "interviews not required" or even not recommended. Just to hedge your bets.</p>

<p>Missypie, this is a little offtrack…. You may have already developed a good checklist during your college search for your S but thought I'd pass on this checklist I found a few years ago that is specifically designed for students with Asperger's, and although most of these topics would not be discussed during an info session with a prof, some of these are very normal topics that could be raised in a more general discussion of the school and their academic program - eg, questions directed to quality and size of program, quality/availability of faculty and advisors, size of classes, how structured classes are, flexibility in designing major, internship opportunities, etc. (it's probably more a tool for mom and dad to use during the college search and visits than S; I found it to be a good short overview of many issues that typically effect students with Asperger's and that I sometimes "forgot" to inquire about during general visits - and S would never think of asking about on his own!):</p>

<p><a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Good luck to your S!</p>

<p>Thanks. I have a list that has some similar items on it, but I had forgotten about it. Yeah, it seems like some of these are "parent" questions...</p>

<p>And missypie, when we were doing visits/interviews last year I found my daughter did much better if I asked a follow-up question now and then to keep things moving. She doesn't have Asperger's or any other psycho-social thing going on, but it's just plain intimidating to be in this situation, for most kids (except debators, who need a muzzle :).) </p>

<p>I limited my questions severely, and only chimed in when a silence got a little too long. As D became more experienced, I said less, to the point that I often said nothing. I did stay in the room, though, and often took notes, because we liked to talk afterwards about what was said, and to have a record of key points. I don't think this came across as an overly involved mom, but maybe someone else can chime in on how this appears :)) I made sure to position myself in the chair further from the other adult to enhance D's engagement. </p>

<p>I also chaperoned a couple of kids visiting our local college, and who had no parent to visit the school and attend the info interviews with them. It's part of learning to function in the adult world of college, IMHO.</p>

<p>Please know, I did not accompany my child, or any other, on an official interview where parents would be wayyyyy out of place. I am referring to the informational, department rep, or athletic/coach interviews.</p>