Advice for Meeting with Admissions

more than likely, if you are looking at this page, you have submitted your name and phone number to a school and they have contacted you and you have scheduled a meeting with an admissions representative. you need to be prepared for this meeting(s) to make sure you understand everything.

below are a list of things to remember.

visit #1

1. first rule of meeting with admissions – without question, the admissions rep needs you to start that day WAY MORE than you need to start the school that day. you are making a decision that will hopefully change your future – it absolutely should not be done in one day. do NOT sign up that day under any circumstance – build in time to think about things. if you are worried about the pain of driving or getting back to the school a second time, remember, if you enroll, you will be going to that building 3-4 times a week. one extra trip to make sure you are doing the right thing is not that big of deal

2. decide before you meet if you are ready to take the entrance test. if you are, have your mind right and come in prepared. test taking can be very scary and, to do your best, you want to be prepared. if you are not ready to take the test, tell the rep this. there is plenty for you to check out even before you test. if the admissions rep will not give you a tour despite not taking the test, then you should scratch that school off your list. the only reason they would do this is because they do not want to waste their time with you (since you are not going to help them meet this weeks student goal) and you do not want to attend a school that thinks like this in the admissions department.

3. after you have taken your test, more than likely the rep will start trying to fast track you through the enrollment agreement and to financial aid. resist this and ask to take the enrollment agreement home to decide. tell them that you will not be enrolling today until you review everything.

4. ask for a tour of the campus. while on the tour, if you see students that are hanging out ask them, in front of the rep, what they think of the school. see what they say. if you think about it ahead of time, write your email address on a few index cards and ask them to email you so you can ask a few questions later.

5. before you leave the first visit – ask a few key questions.

  • What percentage of the students that start the program graduate? What percentage found a job in the field of the program? You need to multiply these two percentages together to determine the average percentage of students who reach the goal of using the training to get a job. For example – 80% grad rate x 70% placement rate means that only 56% of those that start the program come out of it with a job in the field.
  • What is the average starting salary for a student graduating in this program? Make sure you get this in writing from the rep – they are required to give it to you. If they do not, ask them why they will not write it down for you – make sure you keep this! Use this number x the percentage above to determine the projected salary that you will get from attending this program. For example, if the average salary out of the program is $12/hr and 56% of the students finish the program and get a job, this means that your projected income is only $6.72, below minimum wage. Add in the debt you will also have to pay. You will need to make sure you are prepared to do this before you start
  • Ask the representative to tell you his/her educational level and how they are using it helped to get them his/her job. Ask to see his/her resume. This answer will help you determine if he/she truly values education or is just selling it. If they have a background in education or are well educated, then you can feel safe that they understand and care about it. If he/she has no degree or diploma or has been working from admissions office to admissions office, it is safe to say that they just like to sell and do not really value education.
  • Ask to meet or get the contact info of the teachers who will be your instructor. Call them and talk to them about the skills that you will learn and what is available out in the marketplace without these skills. They have no incentive at all for you to start – you can be more candid with them then your admissions rep.

    Click here to download a copy of these questions and why they are important.

  • preparing for visit #2

    1. review everything from visit #1. anything that is a number or a percentage should be checked either on the internet or from the accrediting body for the school.

    2. read AND have someone read for you the entire enrollment agreement. this document will be everything that you are agreeing to before you start. you can forget anything that the rep said to you – this document overrides that and the rep will deny saying anything you thought they said if it ever comes down to that. you need to understand everything here and you should highlight anything you have questions about.

    3. seriously consider other options. can you go to community college? how much would it cost you and how much time will it take. the younger you are, the more time you have to get the certification you need – there is no reason to rush it. consider whether it is better for you to do something else and not take on the debt. it is very possible that your new career could make life HARDER than easier. you have to be real about this. if you are having trouble figuring this out, ask someone you trust.

    4. when you get calls from admissions, remember the first rule of meeting with admissions – they need you more than you need them.

    visit #2

    1. show up early and tour the facility again. this may seem like a waste but this time you should spend more time looking at the students than you likely did the first time. see how they interact and see how they act in class. ask students what they think (now without the admissions rep) and share your email address again if you have this handy.

    2. you will likely start the financial aid process. be prepared, it will be complex and most of the information will deal with payments that you will owe after you are done. you will need to take this information home and determine if you can add this payment to what you already are paying in living expenses today. you will also need the projected salary number from your first visit. if this is less than what you are making today, it will actually be harder to make ends meet after you are done with school. hopefully in the next few years you will earn more in your new field, but that is something that is absolutely not for sure. you will need to weigh all of this before you decide.

    3. go through any questions that you have from reviewing the enrollment agreement and your review of your personal situation. see how the admissions rep responds to these. if it is with pressure, you need to get out of that office immediately. pressure will create bad decisions and is the #1 tool used by admissions reps (and used car salesman). remember the first rule of meeting with an admissions rep.

    4. if after all this, you are satisfied with the results, then still go home and email the students you met that day and sleep on the final decision. it is good to have a clear mind before you make such a huge decision.

    5. If after sleeping on it and doing all the investigation you still think it is a good decision to attend this school, then go forward and finish the process knowing you have done all your homework. keep everything from your meetings and signings in a safe place in case something goes wrong while you are attending school.

    feel free to add to this below if you have any additional ideas. we have also added a few extra resources below if you are interested in more information. best of luck to you!

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