Colleges Come A-Courting St. Louis Is a Magnet for College Admissions Officers from All over the Country. If You're a Senior, Now's the Time to Narrow Your List to a Select Few

Article excerpt

Is anything more abundant than falling leaves in autumn? Well, if you count the number of college recruiters visiting St. Louis each fall, the leaves may have to take a back seat.

St. Louis-area students are a valued commodity in the world of college admissions leading hundreds of admission representatives to fold St. Louis into their travel plans.

Why? Because we have a number of excellent high schools in the area - public, private and parochial; Because St. Louis students have historically been as open to leaving town as they are to staying in town for their college years; And because admission officers want to make it as easy as possible for prospective applicants to hear their messages. From the most selective colleges and universities to the least, each will court appropriate candidates in high schools, at college fairs, and at evening and weekend information sessions this fall. Many will cultivate ties with high school counselors and independent college advisers, too, encouraging them to bring appropriate candidates to the colleges' attention. Students who make time for these visiting college representatives will be the leaders in the college search and will amass information that will help them to make smart enrollment decisions. High School Visits For decades now, college admission officers have been visiting high schools to meet interested students on their own turf. If you keep an eye on your college counselor's bulletin board, you'll see dozens of appointments posted for visiting admission offcers. If one of the colleges you're considering has a visit to your school planned, clear your schedule so you can go to the meeting. You do not need a prior invitation to attend; you do however, need to notify a teacher or counselor if you want to be excused from class for a meeting. This is a great opportunity to see an admission offcer in a small to medium-sized group setting and to ask questions that are important to you. Evenings, Weekends Some colleges have found that it's diffcult to see as many students as they'd like by visiting high schools, so they hold meetings outside of school hours to attract a larger and broader audience. These meetings are generally held in alunmi homes, hotels or high school auditoriums and allow students and parents from a wide geographic area to gather in one place to hear about the college. Admission offcers usually show slides or a video to accompany their verbal presentation and allow plenty of time for questions and answers. Duke, Harvard and Tufts universities and Vassar College (among others) have each hosted meetings in the St. Louis area in recent weeks; many more such sessions will be hosted by other colleges in the remaining weeks of the fall. Sally Scott, a Vassar alumna, feels that these recruitnent efforts benefit students. "My husband, Sanford, and I have been hosting admissions open houses for the last six years, and we have found that it is the most effective way for prospective students to get to know about Vassar. …