Sunday, July 31, 2011

Re-calculating.. oh wait, where's the GPS?

Hey guys! I thought it would be interesting to do a post on college interviews, since they can be a make or break situation in the college process. Many colleges will tell you that an interview is "optional, not required, but recommended." This leads prospective students to wonder "Do I schedule an interview or not?" Saint Mike's offers interviews at the campus with an admission counselor on select weekdays. Besides the option of an interview on campus, Saint Mike's provides the opportunity of an admission counselor to come straight to an area near you for 'a coffee with a counselor'. Being from Salem, NH, the closest area was Manchester, NH. I jumped on the offer quickly, immediately setting up an appointment with the admission counselor.

Let's just say that the interview didn't start off quite as I planned....

I had one thing right, which was dressing neat for the interview. After leaving my house, everything began to spiral downhill. My parents told me that Starbucks was right off of the exit, so I didn't even bother bringing my GPS. Mistake #1.

I ended up driving in circles around the nearby Manchester Mall, frantically calling both of my parents to ask where I was. As they were guiding me in the right direction, they also told me that I should call Michael (the admissions counselor I was meeting with) to tell him I was running late. Great, I didn't have his number. Mistake #2.

Luckily, I was able to get the Starbucks number, and had one of the staff members relay the message to Michael that I was going to be late. That leads to tip #1 of college interviews...
(As you can see, I'm not the best with bubble letters haha.) Granted that Michael was completely understanding of the situation, it is always good to arrive to interviews on time, or even a couple minutes earlier. If for some reason the time needs to be changed or you are going to be late, then it's important to have the contact information of the person you have the interview to give him/her an explanation of why you're late along with an apology.
As soon as I did arrive, Michael warmly greeted me, and offered to pay for a drink or snack at Starbucks. My nerves started to kick in as soon as my drink was served and Michael and I were making our way to our table. Tip #2..
You are going on an interview to make a good impression, but that doesn't mean you need to stray away from who you really are just to make that impression. Be honest, act natural, and you'll be all set :)
 Tip #3..
My first five or so minutes with Michael consisted of answering simple, personal questions like, "Why are you interested in Saint Mike's?" and "What do you want to know about Saint Mike's?" I responded to his questions but also had some of my own, like, "What are the average SAT/ACT scores required by Saint Mike's?" (This is where I learned Saint Mike's is now a test-optional school.), "What is the campus life like?" and "What is the average class size?" He was eager to answer my questions. It's never a bad thing to come prepared and have your own questions. If anything, it shows how interested you are into learning about the school.
Despite the rocky start off arriving at the interview, it went really well. One last tip,
As soon as you get home (hopefully, not getting lost on the way back, too), remember to send a thank you note through the mail or an e-mail to the person you had an interview with. A follow up note is polite and demonstrates manners, which allows you to stand out.
Overall, I would make an interview mandatory. An interview gives you a direct connection to someone at the school, who has a strong influence on your application. If you are interested in setting up an interview or a visit at Saint Mike's, click this link!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Why I Chose SMC

 Hey Everyone!

Just a quick little introduction.. I'm Lauren and I'm entering my first year of college at Saint Michael's College. I've always been intrigued with how some of my friends and family have chosen where they want to spend their next four years. Being from Salem, NH, a lot of my friends chose to attend the University of New Hampshire for several reasons from its great programs to its campus life, while others chose it solely because of financial reasons to avoid the dreaded debt that results in an easier tab at the end of the four years. Everyone has their own personal story about why they chose what school they are attending, so here's my take on why I chose Saint Mike's.

The initial excitement about college started when I heard both of my parents talk about both of their college experiences. My mom spent her memorable four years studying nursing at the University of Connecticut, while my dad attended Saint Michael's College studying Political Science. Both of them provided me with some strong insight as to why college is known to be "the best four years of your life." My first visit ended up being UConn because I was curious to see what UConn was all about. Right away, I was overwhelmed by the massive size of UConn. In a nutshell, I realized that I didn't just want to be a simple number, I wanted to be a student that my professors and classmates knew.

I went home after UConn feeling like I needed to re-evaluate my college choices. I visited other schools after UConn such as Assumption College, Clark University, and the University of New Hampshire. UNH was the same ordeal as UConn, and through Assumption and Clark, I discovered that I didn't want an urban surrounding area. I was beginning to feel stressed out about not finding my perfect fit. My dad sensed that I was stressed out and started to provided me with some reassurance that I will find my perfect fit. He began getting wrapped in his experience at SMC reminiscing on his days there, saying that if he could go back to anytime, he would go back to his Saint Mike's years. That's exactly what I wanted, an experience that would stay with me forever.

I decided to add Saint Mike's onto my list because of the beautiful Vermont area, the 11:1 student ratio, and the small campus. A few months later, I wound up at Saint Mike's for the first time, which happened to be for Accepted Students Day. As soon as I walked into SMC that day, I immediately felt welcome by the staff greeting me, and I felt like the community right away was interested in getting to know me. The day consisted of meeting professors in my major (Psychology), eating lunch with a current student, and having a group session with a panel of current students. The current students were super friendly and helpful, answering a great amount of questions that were fired at them. Once the group panel with over, I was walking around campus while students that were casually walking around on the campus were greeting me, saying "Hey! Good luck on your decision. Hope you choose Saint Mike's! ;)" Each student seemed to be so happy to be on the campus, and I soon quickly caught that happiness, as if it was almost contagious. After consulting with my parents, we both mutually agreed that this is the school for me. We went over to the Admissions office to hand in my deposit on that day. My gut instincts were telling me something that I couldn't ignore, so I knew it was the right decision.

I thought Accepted Students Day was a great experience, but I think that was just the beginning to my Saint Mike's time. Twenty-seven more days until move-in day, which means I am twenty-seven more days closer to coming to my new home.

Until next time...