College Admissions Getting Out There

During the college search and selection process, you’ll be called upon to attend information sessions, informal meetings, open houses – all types of circumstances where you’ll need to interact with people. Sheer torture for those who are shy. The truth of the matter is even the most successful people have moments when they are shy and uncomfortable. For most of us, meeting new people is difficult and making conversation with someone we’ve just met can feel like getting a tooth pulled. The good news is you can overcome and control your shyness. The best part? Not only will it help you with interacting with the colleges now, it’ll help you when it’s time to look for a job AFTER college. Here are some strategies for becoming the life of the party – or at least not a part of the wall. When you’re feeling shy, stop and look at what’s holding you back. Are you feeling excessively self-conscious? Do you feel you’re not good enough? Recognizing what’s causing you to pull back can help you “push through” when you understand the reason behind it. Let your curiosity take over – focus on others. Ask questions that let other people talk. At a college information session with a group of families? Ask why they’re there, what do they like, what do they think, etc. People love to share their opinions and since they’re doing more of the talking, you’ll be less worried about saying something wrong. “Fake it ’til you feel it” – i. e. practice, practice, practice. Make a point of saying “hello” to people you see everyday – at the grocery store, at Starbucks, at school, in your neighborhood. It’ll feel a bit odd for a while, but it’ll go away. Once you get into the habit, you’ll soon find it isn’t as hard to smile and offer a friendly greeting in other situations. “Make it your party” – when you go to someone’s party, take note of what a good host or hostess does. They mingle, they ask who a person they don’t know came with, are they having a good time, etc. If you look at a group event as your party, as a good host or hostess it’s your duty to circulate. (And the admissions folks will take notice – after all, every campus needs kids who’ll make things happen?)