College Visits Get a Smart Upgrade


University of San Francisco Admissions Representative Eric Dong speaking at Wayzata High School on September 25th. Photo by Elisabeth Oster.

Elisabeth Oster, Editor-in-Chief

  The College and Career Center has implemented a new system for electronic college visit passes. This method allows students to sign up for the college visits they are interested in through their school email, according to College and Career Center (CCC) Coordinator Deb Musser. Instead of a physical pass, attendants receive an electronic pass, along with a reminder, for the desired college visit.
  To sign up, students must click the link in the email sent by Musser for that specific college. The email also includes the date, time, and location, according to Musser.
“The biggest thing right now is that students think they can sign up on Naviance for college visits that generates them a pass,” said Musser. “But it has to been done through the email notifications that I’m sending out.”
  Considering that it is a new program this year, Musser has spent time figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Based on overall reaction, Musser recently worked to reduce the amount of individual emails. Instead, the CCC will send out 3-4 days worth of upcoming college visits in a single email.
  “Last year, I came up with the idea because we were doing these handwritten passes, which is just a very outdated system. Kids were losing their passes, and they would have to be reissued,” said Musser.
  Floor offices also were not able to track attendance as it couldn’t be confirmed if students were actually attending the college visit.
  “With the automated system, we get a full list of who has signed up and they have to sign the visit sheet to verify that they were in attendance,” Musser said.
  “Eventually, there’s talk of students getting a login to the college system and they’ll be able to see the colleges that are coming,” said Musser. “When we get the process more automated, students will have greater access to visit information.”
  Musser recognizes that there are often conflicts with college visit times, alternatively, she suggests coming to the CCC to pick up leftover brochures brought by the college representative.
  The school year has brought a new class of seniors looking into an overwhelming amount of colleges; according to Musser, college visits are an imperative option to narrow the student’s scope.
  There are over 250 college representative that visit Wayzata High School, said Musser. College visits will continue to circulate through WHS until December and last about 25 to 40 minutes.
  “I know students are getting tons of emails from colleges and brochures in the mail, but they can narrow this down by finding what’s appealing to them. I had several students last week coming to the visits and saying how helpful it was to be able to talk to different representatives,” said Musser.
  “It’s really great for students to come to the visits, because often the representative who comes is the one reading their applications,” said Musser. “It’s a way for students to meet the representatives and create that connection—the representative will likely remember.”
  Musser also recommends using Naviance, which provides general information about each college—tuition, college life, and scholarship—to provide convenient access for students working to eliminate and reinforce options.
  “Ultimately, I would say just sign up for a college visit and see if you’re interested—it might lead to something,” said Musser. “It might not be the right visit, but maybe your next visit will be a better fit.”