College Counseling Corner: Rising Seniors

Rising seniors

By Sarah Soule

In the world of college admission, students in the Class of 2015 are known as “rising seniors” which means that since their junior year has now reached its conclusion they are “hot prospects” in the world of recruiting. Colleges nationwide are eager to attract rising seniors over the summer to visit their campuses and learn more about their offerings. Soon to be juniors are also most welcome to visit, but members of the Class of 2015 are a “hot commodity” right now.

Students should be aware that the summer prior to the senior year is a great time to visit college campuses, tour facilities, meet with admission officers, attend open house programs, and learn more about the college counseling process as they further define the list of institutions to which they will ultimately apply to during their senior year.

Be advised that most campuses will not have a full component of students on campus during the summer. Instead they will be hosting camps, workshops, and alumni groups, but they are always eager to welcome prospective students and their parents during the summer months. Admission officers will post on their website their summer tour and information session times and, if available, the possibility of interviews with a representative. By visiting campuses and learning about institutions, students will further define possible interests and narrow down choices.

I strongly encourage students and parents to make individual notes after each campus visit of things that were of particular interest while on their tour. For example, after I visit a campus I highlight specific buildings and explicit programs that made a distinct impression. If I had the opportunity to meet with a professor or an admission officer personally, I like to write a personal thank you note after our meeting to express gratitude for their having taken the time to meet with me. A handwritten note in the digital age means a great deal. Students, please remember that – no email thank you notes!

To set up a visit at the colleges and universities of your choice, go to their website and link to the admission page. You’ll find all of the pertinent information. In the meantime, don’t forget that we have multiple colleges and universities locally that students should visit and learn more about. Sometimes the best options are right before your very eyes. Good luck and enjoy the tours.

Sarah Soule is the Director of College Counseling at the Vermont Commons School in South Burlington. She has 32 years of experience working in the field of admissions and college counseling at the college and independent school level. Prior to working at Vermont Commons, she served for 20 years as a senior member of the admissions staff at Champlain College in Burlington. She was recently quoted in the book, The Portable Guidance Counselor, published nationally by the Princeton Review. She works individually with students consulting on the college counseling process.