Do’s, Don’ts for Talking to a U.S. College Recruiter


As an international student looking for prospective colleges, you might get the chance to attend education fairs or have a college recruiter visit your high school. These are opportunities where you can get to know different colleges and universities and ask their representatives any questions you have about studying at their institutions.​

Taking the time to prepare for these meetings will make it easier for you to decide whether the institution is a good fit and narrow down your list of prospective universities. Make sure you get the most out of your experience when meeting a college recruiter by reviewing these do’s and don’ts.

Do: Know which university you are talking to. It can get overwhelming at these fairs, but you need to make sure that you’re talking to the right institution. This is basically your first impression. Make it count!

Don’t: Be shy or nervous. ​ The recruiters are there to answer your questions and you should take advantage of the opportunity. When talking to college recruiters, there are no stupid questions. They are aware of the pressure that comes with the process and they are there to make it easier on you.

Do: Be interested. Usually recruiters aren’t necessarily the ones to decide on your admission, but if you show interest in what they are sharing with you, valuable admissions insight can be gained. ​ Try to picture yourself at the university. How can the recruiters help you achieve your goals?

Don’t: Take up all of the recruiter’s time. The opposite of being too shy to ask any questions is asking too many. Chances are that you are there with more prospective students, so don’t make a bad impression by not giving others a chance to ask questions. You probably have tons of questions to ask your prospective new college or university, but if you end up with a business card, as I suggest below, you’ll be able to ask your questions at a later point in time.

Do: Ask anything. College recruiters will be able to answer your academic questions but they will also be able to answer any questions you have about the campus, student life, the city or town, and more. Most of the questions that recruiters get are not related to academics, so they are used to answering all sorts of questions.  

Don’t: Make the recruiter do all the work. In other words, come prepared. Do your research: Know which universities are going to be visiting and make a list of the ones that are in your league. Research their admission requirements. If a school needs certain test scores that you won’t be able to attain, don’t put that school on the list. On the other hand, if you are aiming for an Ivy League institution, you can probably skip the community colleges.

Do: Ask for a business card.
There will likely be questions you think of the moment you get home, or you might not have the time to ask everything you want. Getting a business card allows you to ask all those questions later.

Don’t: Brochure-shop. If you visit all the universities and take every brochure at every stand, you might not be doing the most effective research. Talk to the representatives, tell them what you are looking for and they can help you pick out the right brochure to take home.

Finally, be wary of narrowing your options. Attending a fair or talking to various college representatives gives you a more complete picture. The American education system is very diverse, especially when it comes to undergraduate education. You might come across options that you would never have considered in your home country. Keep an open mind and remember that there is more than one way to get to where you want to be: a graduate of a U.S. college.

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