This month I have 6 students – 3 from Vancouver, 3 from Hong Kong – visiting 24 boarding schools between them in the states of CA, CT, MA, NH and NY, as well as boarding schools in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island.
The schools chosen to visit were the result of detailed discussion and research with the families, followed by my outreach to the schools to see if the students could be viable candidates. Once this had been established – with absolutely no guarantees of acceptance made - then the personal preparations for a visit were made.
When preparing families for a boarding school visit, I cover the following:
1. The basic politeness elements whereby you make the first impression:
a. Make warm and friendly eye contact
b. Remember names
c. Importance of the handshake (covered in detail in a prior blog)
d. Saying thank you
2. Ensure research has been done on the school you are visiting:
a. what values do they have that you share
b. what programs do they have that interest you
c. what questions will you have ready for the admissions interviewer
3. Know yourself and what you are looking for in a school:
a. outline your strengths and weaknesses as a student
b. share your extra-curricular passions with the interviewer
c. impress the interviewer – you need to stand out – by being your true self.
After the visit send a hand- written note to the admissions interviewer thanking him/her for a great visit and the opportunity to visit their school.
Also, send a note to the tour guide. All these seemingly little things will ensure you have left a strong impression. You need to stand out as a good memory in the mind of the admission staff for when they make final decisions in a few months when they review hundreds of applicants.
My role as your consultant/advocate is to keep in close phone contact with the schools in the months after your visits in order to cement in their minds that you are a good choice for them. If the consultant can say to them, “my client will come if accepted,” that helps the schools a great deal with their yield.
Oh, and by the way you must work hard and produce your best grades as part of your application this current school year!
It is exciting for me to be a part of these families’ lives seeing these young people spreading their wings and discovering what’s out there educationally! An experienced educational consultant is there to help you navigate the process smoothly.