One of my favorite parts of my role in Undergraduate Admissions is talking with groups of students and chaperones from schools and community based organizations (CBOs) when they come to experience our campus for the first time. These special groups, which often include students from low-income families and students who will be first-generation in their family to attend college, are part of our office’s efforts to share information that demystifies the college admissions process for students and educators. Students come to our campus with a range of pre-existing knowledge about higher education and often our conversations are more fun because we illuminate universal aspects of college life - including majors, dorms, professors, “the liberal arts” - rather than focus exclusively on Tufts. The best visits are those when chaperones - counselors and teachers - have dedicated a bit of time to discuss the basics of postsecondary education with their students, helping students better understand the information they’ll hear during their visit to campus.
Here are a few tips for helping your students prepare for a campus visit:
Tell them what to expect. This might seem obvious, but it’s so helpful when students anticipate that they’ll be spending 30-60 minutes sitting and listening to a presentation, followed by 60-75 minutes walking on a campus tour, and then (on the best days) eating lunch in the dining hall. Knowledge of what’s to come often helps students stay focused on the activities in front of them.
Provide a lesson on language. We work hard to be mindful that the college admissions process is filled with terminology that is totally unfamiliar to many students, including me when I was seventeen. A lesson on the difference between Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and graduate degrees can be a great place to start with middle school or early high school students. Our presentation will often cover general concepts like majors, minors, advisors, and meal plans, but the engagement is far better if a student isn’t being introduced to this language for the very first time.
Preempt some questions. Once I had an amusing information session with a group of eighth graders in which an enthusiastic cluster of boys at the front of the room asked me a slew of endearing, but very specific questions about the process of being recruited to a professional sports team as a Division 1 athlete (Tufts is D3, btw). Not only am I far from an expert on this topic (like...absolutely clueless), but all these athletics questions led our conversation down a rabbit-hole that took time away from other students’ questions. As counselors and advisors, you know your students best, so I recommend helping them brainstorm questions that frame their interests (athletics, medicine, dance, community service, etc.) in ways that will be relevant for the entire group to hear.
Let us know how we can help! If you’re running late, need advice on a convenient location to eat a bagged lunch, or would really like your students to hear from a current Tufts student with a particular interest or experience, communicate that information early on and we’ll try our best to accommodate.
If you’re interested in visiting campus with a group of students, please make an official request using the Special Group Visit calendar on our website: https://ugrad.admissions.tufts.edu/portal/special_group_visit. The upcoming months will be very busy here at Bendetson Hall, but we look forward to you and your students joining us on campus and hope we can work together to make the most of your experience!