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What to know

Daniel Golden, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist says, ”Colleges tend to favor strong applicants who make the most contacts with a school.”

The truth is, your interest in a school can be a tip factor in getting admitted.

Therefore, making multiple contacts with each school on your college list, including getting to know the college representatives assigned to your school, is a very smart thing to do. 

Just so you know, large, public universities are usually too busy to deal with tracking student contact, but many small and medium sized private colleges and universities are not.

•  “Demonstrated interest” is the buzz word used by colleges to describe the quantity and quality of contact students have with them that indicate a student’s likelihood to enroll. This is a very important issue for colleges.

•  The ultimate in “demonstrated interest” is applying early to a college.

•  Some colleges use computer programs to track who and when students contact them.

•  A new trend among colleges is to turn down or waitlist otherwise very qualified applicants who have not bothered to “demonstrate interest” in them previous to turning in their admissions applications.

•  Colleges want to accept students who will accept their offers of admission because, among other things, this helps the colleges’ precious “yield rate.”


What to know

•  Utilize as many forms of college contact as you can with private and public colleges that value it. At some point, this could make the difference between your being accepted, waitlisted or denied.

•  College contact includes:

✔  Phone calls and emails to the college admissions office

✔  Responding to any mailing that you receive from a college that includes a reply card

✔  Asking to be put on a college mailing list

✔  Signing in at an admissions office when you are visiting a college

✔  Having an on-campus interview or an off-campus alumni interview

✔  Attending a group information session at a college

✔  Attending a college fair and signing in at the table or booth

✔  Interacting with a college rep who visits your school (and signing their sign-up sheet)

•  It is never too late to show your interest in a college.

 Every college in the country has a specific admissions representative assigned to every high school, including your own. This is probably the person who will read your application.

•  It is very useful to get to know the admissions representative assigned to your high school. People who have met and know you are more likely to choose you over some other unknown applicant.

•  Always follow-up a meeting or visit with a thank you note.


What to know

Freshman Year
9th grade is a little early for most students to think about colleges, let alone make contact with individual schools.

sophomore Year
As a 10th grader, you can make contact with colleges by:

✔  Taking a quick tour of colleges when you go out of town. Before you leave, don’t forget to sign in at the admissions office.

✔  Attending hometown college fairs and signing in at the different college tables or booths

junior Year
11th grade is when to get serious about making college contacts. As soon as you know that you are interested in a college, let them know by:

✔  Registering on their admissions website and asking to be put on their mailing list

✔  Finding out who the college rep assigned to your high school is and sending him/her an email expressing interest in the college

✔  Attending hometown college fairs and meeting admissions representatives

senior Year
Contact with college admissions offices during fall semester, senior year is critical. To make it count, do some or all of the following:

✔  If you haven’t already, let colleges know that you are interested in them by getting yourself on their respective mailing lists (online or through a phone call)

✔  If you haven’t already, find out who the college reps assigned to your high school are, get their email addresses and make contact

✔  Arrange for on-campus personal interviews

✔  Arrange for off-campus personal interviews with alums in your hometown. If a college rep comes to your high school, make sure to meet him/her


When to do it

Because making contact with colleges is a new behavior and uncomfortable to some students, you can be helpful by helping your student to know what to do. Most teenagers don’t have much experience in communicating with adults; so rather than expecting them to know what to say or write, provide them with an example to follow. Potentially, this is one of those wonderful learning moments, and help your child become more adult-like and competent.

by Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz
Excerpted from adMISSION POSSIBLE® (Sourcebooks, Inc, April 2012)

If you want to know more about this and other admissions topics, read
Getting into the Best Colleges for you
. Order it here!



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