Ask a counselor series: Finding the right college to attend is a big decision, and it can be an overwhelming process. Luckily, there are many trained people to help during this crucial time.
Qualified high school and college admission counselors throughout the region are available to guide students and their families. In this series, Carolina College Bound will talk with these experts about the college search.
If you have questions you want answered by counselors, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Ask a Counselor” in the subject line.
Ask a Counselor: Allie Jacobius at High Point University
Allie Jacobius has been an admissions counselor at High Point University for one year. She is from Winston-Salem and attended college at University of North Carolina at Asheville.
What is the job of an admissions counselor, and how can they be helpful to prospective students?
“Admissions counselors help students navigate the admissions process. They serve as an adviser and a key contact at the college. They will schedule visits and set up meetings with faculty. Demonstrating interest in attending the college often is an important measuring tool the college uses to make decisions.
“We also work with the students to make sure their application file is complete. We help them choose the best application plan for them, whether it’s early decision, early action or regular decision. We try to help make the process seamless.”
How important is it for a prospective student to make a good impression on the college visit and tour?
“This is really important. Many times, the student is looking to see if this is a fit for them, but the university is also looking at the students to see if they’d be a great fit for their academic programs and campus community. It has a huge impact on the admissions process.
“I suggest checking in with admissions when you’re visiting campus. Come prepared with five questions or topics that you want to discuss and act professional. This is the next stage of the first chapter of your life and your potential gateway to your future careers.”
What things should a prospective student consider when looking at colleges?
“Here are a few questions that I think are important:
Does the student see themselves living, learning, making friends and thriving in the school’s environment?
Does the college offer the majors that the student is interested in?
How accessible are faculty members to students?
Does the size of the school fit the student?
What types of career development resources are available at the school?
Do the values of the school and the community around it align with the student?
What’s the plan for funding the student’s college education?”
What are the most common mistakes prospective students make on a college application?
“Students have not truly thought through and have not properly proofread and edited their essay. We find a lot of common mistakes, whether it be spelling, grammar or sentences that don’t align. Sometimes, an essay gets cut off, and the student doesn’t realize they’ve only copied part of the essay.
“Often students use the same essay for all the schools and they forget to remove the other school’s name from the essay.”
What resources are available to students and their families who are looking for colleges?
“There are several: My College Options, NAVIANCE, The College Board and The Princeton Review. With each, students create a profile and indicate what’s most important to them in a college environment. These sites can help narrow down college choices, create college match lists and guide students through SAT and ACT prep and testing.”
When should students visit schools?
“Typically, the spring of and summer after a student’s junior year of high school, students are visiting colleges that they have some interest in. After the initial visit, students usually narrow it down to places that they are more serious in and feel they could see themselves as a student there.
“We recommend that students attend an open house at that point. They are going to have a different experience when the academic year begins because the campus will be alive with students, and there will be more departments and resources available to students then.”
Vanessa Infanzon is a freelance writer based in Charlotte. In her former life, she worked in Student Life at Davidson College, UNC Charlotte and Queens University of Charlotte. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @morethanVMI