Southeast Admissions Counselor Says Campus Visit Essential to Choosing a School

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Nov. 21, 2003 — Because the Internet makes researching colleges and universities easier than ever, Brandi Brooks, admissions counselor at Southeast Missouri State University, says it is important for high school students to plan a campus visit to experience a college or university first hand and to determine if it is a good fit for them.

According to Brooks, students are often overwhelmed by information from colleges, counselors, friends, the Internet and other sources.

“Students should never commit to a school until they have seen it with their own eyes,” she says.  “Every school has a nice brochure, but it is important for students to see what it is really like, to see first hand what they have heard about at high school visits, talking with friends or surfing the Internet.”

There are a variety of considerations for high school students in choosing a particular school before making a commitment to attend.  The size of a school is a major consideration for most students.  While students may already have an idea of whether they want to attend a large or small school, a campus visit allows them to actually experience the environment of a school.

“Typically a student will know within the first 15 to 20 minutes whether he can see himself attending that school,” Brooks says.  “The campus visit can save a lot of trouble, because the student gets some idea of the school’s atmosphere ahead of time.”

Other issues of importance for prospective students can include the quality of the residence halls and the food, student life, and whether the setting is rural or urban.  All of these questions can be answered in person through a campus visit.

Brooks says she enjoys meeting with students during campus visits.

“I like to talk with students and their parents and find out what they are looking for in a school,” Brooks explains.  “It is very interesting to see the difference in the questions asked by the students and their parents.  Parents are usually interested in such things as scholarships and financial aid.  Students typically want to know about residence life, extracurricular activities and academics.”

At Southeast, campus visits are offered as a way to introduce high school students to campus life.  The visits can be tailored for each individual student’s interests.

During a campus visit, students are shown a campus video, which provides an overview of Southeast.  They generally have a personal meeting with an admissions counselor, usually the one serving the territory in which they live.  At this time, students learn more about the admissions and application processes.  They are able to ask questions and get information on scholarships, academics and a variety of other areas, Brooks said.

A one-hour walking tour of the campus is given by a student ambassador.  Student ambassadors are current university students who lead tours of the campus and allow high school students and their families the opportunity to ask questions and hear about the campus from the viewpoint of an actual student.  Depending on the visiting student’s interests, it is possible to eat a meal in the student dining hall or to see a residence hall, she added.

Often during the campus visit, students will get the opportunity to speak with the dean of the college.  If a student is interested in a particular major, an appointment can be made with a professor from that department, Brooks said.  There is also the opportunity to sit in an actual college class.

Brooks’ territory includes St. Louis private schools, Metro Illinois, and Springfield, Ill.  Since September, Brooks has visited around 60 high schools, meeting with students and sharing with them what Southeast has to offer.

While many of the students Brooks has talked with have expressed a strong interest in Southeast, she still encourages them to come and see for themselves what the University has in store for them.

“Visiting a campus allows a student to gain a realistic picture of college life,” says Brooks.  “It isn’t what is seen on MTV or in the movies.  By meeting current students, attending a class, or eating the food, visiting students can form their own opinions about a school and whether or not it is a match for them.  Here at Southeast, we will try to find the right school for the student, whether it is Southeast or not.”

If you met with Brooks or any of Southeast’s admissions counselors at a high school visit, or if you would just like a personal view of the University, contact the Admissions Office to schedule a campus visit.  It is recommended that visits be scheduled at least one week in advance.  Call the campus tour line at (573) 651-5945 or set up an appointment online at http://www.semo.edu/admissions/visit.htm.