The drive into Boston was familiar but that day I was accompanying my younger brother and his friends on a college visit. I remembered being more impressed with this particular school when I applied than on this second visit.
The information session was anything but helpful; the admissions officer referred prospective students to the school’s website instead of answering questions. She belittled prospectives when they asked about specific issues and barely explained the feature for which the university is most famous. When it came to knowing facts, she didn’t - she had to shuffle through papers, scan the projection screen, and finally guess about some of the details.
I could not believe how different this experience was from my first, very positive impression of this same school. At that point, I had a great information session with an extremely helpful admissions officer who made the school one of my top choices, yet one less-than-helpful staff member turned me - and my brother - off to the school.
I did regain a bit of interest during the tour. Through the sweltering heat, the guide was optimistic and pleasant, which is not easy. Though he admitted that the small freshmen dorms are not great, he noted that students are offered suite-style living as sophomores.
My brother and his friends were turned off by the university’s very open feel and minimal security so close to Boston, but that can be expected in an urban setting. After suggesting that pros-pective students rub the school mascot’s nose for good luck, he walked away and left us feeling rather disappointed.
After my very different experiences, I advise students to be aware of the impression a staff member can make. As hard as it may be, keep in mind that one person does not represent the entire school. Try to separate these negative feelings from the way you feel about the school as a whole, always trusting your instinct and following your gut.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.