Point: Is Skype the most beneficial medium for college meetings?

Caitlin Ferris, Staff Writer

The college admissions season is an incredibly stressful and confusing time. With the number of schools available to us, seniors and juniors struggle to find which college will suit our needs best, and accept us.

Part of what narrows this process down is meeting with admissions officers from different colleges. The goals of these meetings are to allow us students to learn more about the school, and to provide a connection, which can be used if a student ever needs more clarification on any aspect of the university. Many representatives will bring materials such as business cards and pamphlets, detailing the school’s statistics and programs.

These goals can easily be achieved through Skype. A connection across a video stream may seem less personal, but it differs only slightly from a visit in person. The video chat is interactive, so the officers can see you just as easily as you can see them, and they will still take your questions if you have them. Skype allows some colleges to reach high schools to which they cannot typically travel. If circumstances occur that prevent a representative from physically making it to the meeting, it can still take place.

I personally attended a Skype session for a college, and it was a very beneficial and informative experience. The representative was warm, witty, and engaging. He gave participants a lot of information about the school, and gave us advice on how to strengthen our applications. Most importantly, he gave us a “feel” for the school, even though he was miles away in New York City. The meetings can spark interest in a school—if you like what a college rep has to say, you can visit the campus or look on the website to learn more.

“Many students have busy schedules, and do not have the time to visit colleges,” said senior Charlie Scharf. “Also, there is a large financial burden on having to pay for airfare or a hotel to visit campus, which not everyone can afford. Skype provides a free, cost-effective way to get to meet with school representatives.”

Obviously, the best way to learn about a school is to visit, and take a class there. However, if you do not have the time or money to visit all the schools to which you want to apply a meeting with a representative is the next best alternative.

“With so many different universities to choose from, Skype sessions with college reps are really helpful because they give students who don’t have the time to actually visit schools a chance to learn more and show interests,” said senior Sam Goldman.

This quote also alludes to another helpful part of the meeting: the opportunity to establish your interest in your favorite universities. When you attend a meeting, your name is written down, so that the school can continue to email or mail you information, and so that it knows that you have invested time to learn about the university, and that you care. In this way, Skype meetings are just as valuable as meetings in person with reps.

Skype sessions allow college representatives to communicate with as many high schools as possible, allowing the college to reach out to a more diverse set of students.

“I do think it’s a good idea for west coast colleges, and small colleges that may not necessarily have the resources to fly their representatives across the country to publicize their school,” said senior Josh Curtis.

Schools may create more diverse student bodies if they can appeal to different areas of the country that they couldn’t previously reach.

“I think college Skype sessions really take advantage of technology to help students learn more about a particular school. This kind of communication is especially helpful now that increasingly more students are applying to schools far away from them,” said senior Wyn Stopford.

As technology progresses, admissions have changed as well. Schools now email prospective students, set up accounts for admission through the Common App and send acceptance letters (and rejection ones, too) through email. Technology allows the admissions process to be more efficient, and this efficiency includes online meetings with representatives.