Top 10 Tips for Success

10. Schedule! Make an appointment with your Representative or Senator in advance.

9. Be flexible! Members' schedules get juggled at a moment's notice. You may meet with a Member in the chamber lobby, walk with him or her to the Capitol for a vote, or may even meet with a staff person instead.

8. Inform! Let the office know your issues when you call to make an appointment.

7. Be prepared! Know the facts of the issue and both sides of it. Be prepared to discuss the effects of policy changes on the college individuals concerned.

6. Take an expert! Members are less likely to "skip" meetings with groups than individuals. Bringing a local expert, community or business leader concerned with your issue helps reinforce your position.

5. Be on time! And, be willing to wait. Delayed appointments can be very beneficial if they give you time to get to know the Member's staff. Keep in mind that meeting with staff can be as productive as seeing the Member personally.

4. Pick a spokesperson! When visiting as a group, one person should start the meeting and be the spokesperson. Before the meeting, decide the key points that should be covered, and who will raise which points.

3. Be positive, friendly and brief! Stick to the issues, facts and don't outstay your welcome. Congressional offices are friendly places, but they are also places of intensive activity.

2. Get a reaction! Ask for favorable consideration of your position, thus seeking the Member's opinion.

1. SEND A THANK YOU! When you get home, write a "thank you" to your Member of Congress and any staff with whom you may have met, and ask them to keep in touch with you on your issues.