Coffee Meetings with College Advisors Explained!
What comes to mind when you see universities advertising that they are hosting meet ups in local cafes or budget hotels? Do you think it’s sketchy? Formal? Weird? Normal?
Do you avoid this type of situation or do you welcome it and treat it as an opportunity to show the college rep how great of a candidate you are? Do you see it as a learning opportunity?
The coffee meeting is the king/queen of networking. It’s a low-risk way to meet new people, swap advice, and lay the foundation for a more substantial relationship. If the concept of a coffee meeting is foreign to you, you only have to remember one guiding principle: never, ever waste the other person’s time. They are providing their time, their most precious resource.
Here are some tips on how to ace this type of meeting as a potential student:
Make sure to RSVP
Whether that is by filling out the recruiters form on the website or emailing your confirmation, it’s really important that you RSVP. And make sure to let the advisor know if you are unable to attend last minute.
International advisors travel the world meeting potential students roughly about 2-3 times a year. The likelihood of them being in your city/ home town for more than a day is small! If you can shift around your regular schedule to accommodate this type of meeting, I suggest you do so.
Bring your family along
Parents are key influencers when it comes to the college decision process. Don’t hide the fact that you are looking at international schools from your parents! They might not think it’s a great idea at the beginning, but they will definitely be more open to this after a meeting with a University Representative. I know some students have parents who don’t speak great English. Don’t let that stop you from taking them along to this. Being at the event will help them understand the process even if they aren’t asking all the questions.
Bring a friend
If you think the coffee meet up in Panera Bread or Starbucks is just a bit too uncomfortable for you; bring a friend! This is a networking opportunity that you don’t want to miss. If your friend ends up interested in going abroad with you, then that’s a bonus!
It’s always Free
Universities almost always pay for the entire event. Whether it’s a coffee or a dinner, everything will be paid for. (Pretty good reason to RSVP!) When I host these type of events, I usually choose a Starbucks or a more formal setting like a Hotel Conference Room.
Leave a lasting impression
Every student I met in person when doing college information sessions is ingrained in my memory. The conversations always go deeper than just pure academic chat. I always learn about the likes and dislikes of students and on the flip side, my students always get to ask questions they might not be able to find online. When you are attending one of these information sessions, ask any question you think is relevant to you. It will show the advisor that you are serious about that school.
Lastly, meeting with a potential college you are interested in is not binding. You are not committing to attending that school. Treat it as part of the vetting process.
If you have any questions for us about anything related to the college admission process overseas, please comment below or email: