School of Arts and Humanities News

College Prep Camp Helps Teens Improve Communication Skills

Dr. Carie King (left) and Dr. Melissa Hernandez-Katz

Dr. Carie King (left) and Dr. Melissa Hernandez-Katz

Even with excellent test scores and high class rankings, many prospective college students still have a lot of work to do when it comes to college essays, resumes and interviews, according to two UT Dallas communication instructors.

That need for better student communication skills in the admissions process is why the two will hold a college preparation camp this summer.

“Students think it’s all about test scores, but it’s really not,” said Dr. Carie King, clinical professor of communication and associate director of rhetoric in the School of Arts and Humanities.

“We’re covering some of the most stressful parts of the college application process — the essay and the interview — while providing some other important information for students hoping to be accepted into their targeted universities,” said Dr. Melissa Hernandez-Katz, senior lecturer in communication in the School of Arts and Humanities.

Developed for rising high school juniors and seniors, the camp will be held the week of July 30.

While some research studies indicate that the college admissions process can be very stressful for high school students, Ingrid London BS’07, MS’16, director of freshman admissions, said UT Dallas tries to make the process as streamlined as possible.

“It can involve a lot of information and a number of deadlines, but our goal is to make the application process as smooth as possible for prospective UT Dallas students,” London said.

University admission requirements vary a great deal across the country. UT Dallas, for instance, does not require essays or interviews for admissions, but they may be required for scholarship applications. Other universities also may require interviews and essays for scholarships or admissions.

London said communication skills are important for prospective students and are considered in UT Dallas’ holistic application process.

In addition to essay and interview preparation, the summer camp will look at other factors that could influence admissions counselors, such as social media and life balance.

Hernandez-Katz said social communication use makes it more difficult for some students to switch to a more formal approach when necessary.

“Students text a lot, and they often become very relaxed in their texts. Sometimes that comes across in their emails so that when they’re emailing an admissions director, or a person in charge of awarding a scholarship, they can be too informal,” she said.

King said colleges want to know about student activities and motivations.

“They want to know how you’re going to be able to balance the challenges of the academic world with being healthy, taking care of yourself, socializing and creating lasting relationships — part of the whole college experience,” King said.

Hernandez-Katz and King will provide two three-hour sessions each day during the camp. Interested students or parents can register online.

This story originally appeared in the UT Dallas News Center