Speaker: What goals and expectations should a student have when they visit a college as an admitted applicant?
Jerome Cole: I think the first expectation that every student should have is to be treated in a way that they may or may not have been treated the first time. You know when you go to a college campus as an admitted student, you tend to get a little bit more attentive, you tend to be a little bit more special to the particular college. At that point, they are trying to close the deal, if you will. They are going to rollout the red carpet; they are going to put their best foot forward for you. So your expectation should be that you are going to be treated pretty well. You are going to get the best of the best from this particular college or university. I think in terms of goals, the goals are to go there with an open mind, to go there with your eyes and ears open. You want to ask lots and lots of questions; you want to probe; you want it make as much contact if you can, with as many people as you can. It is not just the person that they assign to you as your sponsor, but it is also the folk that are just sitting near, maybe in the cafeteria or in the student union building or out in the lawn, who're just sitting in the study and minding their own business, to go up an engage those individuals in conversations; to talk to a professor who you haven't been assigned to talk to and ask them what is your prospective on the college or university.
Then I always encourage students to try and engage the support staff and that maybe a little bit more difficult. Traditionally, we don't think about those folks when we are looking at colleges. We think well, if we're going to go to college, we want to talk to students, we want to talk to professors, we want to talk to the people in the Admission's Office. Well, that's great; you do want to talk to those people; but remember the support staff. They're owing the school just as much as the students and the faculty do; they have been there for years and years and years.
You as a student, you are going to come and spend four years there; you're going to earn your degree and you're going to move on. The support staff stays there. They are going to give you a unique prospective for inside into that school. They are going to allow you to peel back those layers, questions that you should be asking them, tell me about the kids here? What kind of kids come to school here. The Admission's Office is going to tell you one thing; the support people are going to tell you something, maybe a little different. They don't have an agenda. The other question is what do kids do here. When classes are closed, when the professors go home, and it is just students on campus what's really going on. I know when I went for admissions, they tell me, well, kids are doing these and kids are doing that and I talk to these kids and they tell me that they are doing this, but from your perspective, what do you see; what are the kids really engaged in.
Then another question to ask is about the relationship between the college and the surrounding community. Then you are going to ask that question of the admission's folks, of faculty members, and you are going to ask students. They are going to give you their honest opinions, but the support staff they are the community, they are going to give a different perspective.