Applying for college can be an extremely exciting and sometimes stressful time. Every year Auburn University receives applications from prospective students in all 50 states and many different foreign countries.
Unknown to some of these applicants, there are people on the inside that can help make the process of applying and choosing the perfect university easier.
These insiders are called Admissions Advisors, and their job is to recruit students and assist them in the admissions process.
Three of these regional advisors are Jordan Holladay, Katherine Buck and Andrew McGill, and the following are their answers to six valuable admissions questions.
What is the most frequently asked question you get from prospective students?
“I always get asked if we accept the Hope Scholarship,” McGill said. “This is because I mainly recruit Georgia, but the advice I give to out-of-state students is that we offer tiered scholarships to help offset out-of-state costs. The ACT and SAT are both very important for these scholarships, so I advise students to take both tests at least once to see which one they like better. This helps students focus on one test and get their score up as much as possible.”
What are the biggest concerns most prospective students have that they shouldn’t worry about?
“Some prospective students are overly worried about what they are going to do on the weekends during college, and they are often looking for planned activities the university provides,” Holladay said. “While those activities are important for student engagement, I try to remind them they will make friends in college, too! The beauty of college is you have more freedom, and you can choose to have unplanned, spur of the moment, adventures with the new friends you meet.”
“The students I advise all worry about the short answer questions on the application,” Buck said. “I always tell them not to stress and to answer honestly in five to seven sentences.”
“Housing,” McGill said. “Some students use housing as a deal breaker, but I think they should give their decision more thought. There are so many great off campus housing options that I think are definitely worth looking into before deciding not to attend. Auburn has so much to offer, especially off campus housing, that this issue shouldn’t be a deal breaker.”
What should prospective students pay the most attention to when visiting different universities?
“Students should ask themselves, ‘Can I see myself living here for 4 years?’” Holladay said. “The academics of an institution are important, but students also have to remember they are choosing their home for the next four years. Wherever they attend college is where they will live, and it is important to be happy where you are living.”
“You become who you surround yourself with,” Buck said. “When students visit the campuses they are considering, they should ask themselves if they are ok becoming like the people already attending that institution.”
“What makes them feel most comfortable,” McGill said. “I know that is vague, but it definitely varies from student to student. For me, I wanted to have a big college experience, but I didn’t want to be just another number either. That is what separated Auburn for me. It was exactly what I was looking for.”
What is the hardest aspect of the admissions process for students?
“The hardest aspect of the admissions process for students is often the waiting,” said Holladay. “I remember as a prospective student anxiously waiting to hear if I was accepted and if I had been offered a scholarship. By nature, we want to know as soon as possible, and having to wait to hear back can be difficult.”
“Probably keeping up with the different dates and deadlines of each school to which they apply,” said Buck.
“I think it’s the standardized tests,” said McGill. “Some students have great GPA’s but don’t test well. Students that start taking their tests during their junior year of high school typically do better because they don’t feel as rushed to make their best score. Best advice; take the ACT and SAT early and often.”
In your opinion, what is the most important aspect of the admissions process?
“Deadlines are the most important aspects in my opinion,” Holladay said. “Every school has different early action, application, scholarship and housing deadlines. It is important for students to stay on top of these dates at the schools they are the most interested in. College is expensive, and it is awful when students miss being awarded a scholarship because they did not apply by the deadline.”
“The most important part of the process is taking trips to visit the schools a student is interested in attending,” Buck said. “Students are choosing their home for the next four years, and I believe it is important to observe the campus and interact with current students in order to find the right fit and make a fully informed decision.”
What is one thing you wish you could tell all students preparing to apply to the university?
“Have fun,” Holladay said. “The college application and search process can be stressful, but choosing a college should also be enjoyable.”
“Pick a school based not only on the education they will receive, but also on the person they will become while they are there,” Buck said. “If you can be proud of both your degree and who you are, you did it right!”
“Just relax and be confident,” McGill said. “I feel like some students stress out way too much. In my opinion, the more relaxed and confident they are the better they will perform on their ACT and SAT, and the better they will answer their short answer questions on their application.”
Admissions Advisors are a resource for prospective students and families wanting to learn more about Auburn University. Contact information for advisors can be found by visiting the recruitment website http://www.auburn.edu/admissions/recruitment/index.html. For more information about the Office of Admissions and Recruitment or the admissions process, visit www.auburn.edu/admissions.
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