Students need to show colleges that they are interested in attending by doing more than just filling out the application.
The college landscape has changed significantly in the last few years and decisions are made based on big data. What does that mean to you? Colleges are trying to have more students apply because it helps their standing in U.S. News and World Report. Once they have all their applications, they need to determine which students will actually attend, versus which students see them as a safety school, or even fifth on their list (this ratio also helps their ranking because unless they are a big state college, they care about who accepts their offers).
What should you do to look like an interested applicant?
Please note: This does not apply to many large state colleges who generally do not track this.
First, if you live within 4 hours of a college they want you to visit the school and take the tour. If haven’t visited the college, you should consider visiting before your application is due.
Here are a number of ways to show interest to the admission office:
• Request that the college sends you information. Then open every e-mail that they send because they track that.
• Find out, by a phone call or e-mail, when your admissions representative will be in your area so you can meet with them. Attend admissions talks and ask the admissions officer a pre-rehearsed, thoughtful, intelligent question, so that they remember you. Ask for their business card and be sure to follow-up.
• See if representatives are coming to your school for an official visit and attend the session. Afterwards shake their hand, get their business card, ask your pre-rehearsed question, and send them a follow-up e-mail.
• Clean up your social media and then “like” / “follow” them on Facebook or Twitter.
• See if the college offers interviews and schedule one. Please meet with me to review interviewing techniques before you have it.
• If you play a sport, contact the coach and let them know about your interest.
• Submit an art or music supplement. Ask a real questions which cannot be answered by looking on the website.
• If a college is your first choice school, let admissions know in an e-mail, and tell them why it is a great match for you.
Some colleges track every interaction that you have with the school, spend your time wisely and let the colleges know that they are important to you.