As I visit colleges and talk with admission counselors, it has become rather clear that how much interest an applicant shows in a school really can matter.
Like anything in the college application process, applicants cannot afford to rely on doing the minimum and expect to be considered a strong applicant. Especially at the more selective schools where there are just too many applicants already.
What admission counselors are interested in are students who can do the work and who are likely to enroll. This is called yield and it’s something I talked about in a previous post:
This is the aspect of the process that so many families fail to see. As much as an applicant may have worked hard to achieve strong grades and test scores, in the world of selective admissions, they have to be more than just grades and test scores if they are hoping to be competitive. At a certain point, a vast majority of the applicants can do the work but there are only so many seats in the incoming class. So as much as an applicant’s grades and test scores may look great on the surface, it’s also about how the college values other aspects of their profile when they are trying to make decisions.
And that’s where showing your interest in a school can help your chances.
But, there’s a catch.
As I mentioned already, if you want to make the most of this process and really position yourself as a strong candidate for a school that you are truly interested in, then you have to do more than the minimum.
What’s the minimum?
Just attending an information session and tour when a college offers an overnight program complete with an interview and the opportunity to sit in on a class and meet with current students.
Not even visiting a college who is within driving distance when they clearly state on their website that priority consideration for admission and scholarships will be given to students who visit.
An applicant who sends an email to an admission counselor to say how much he or she loves the school and then fails to continue the conversation when the admission counselor replies and asks the applicant a few follow-up questions.
If you really do love a college and you really do see yourself there then you really do need to go the extra mile to make sure the college knows this. Really, you do.
So, fill out the card and email the admissions counselor. Visit campus. Do all of those things. But, do more as well. Instead of just sending an email to say how interested you are, engage in a conversation about your major or a particular aspect of the school that excites you. Ask about meeting with or talking to faculty or current students. See if you can arrange to sit in on a class or spend an overnight on campus so you can attend an event or game. Schedule an interview with admissions – and don’t let distance dissuade you. Many schools will do interviews by phone or Skype knowing that finances can prevent a student from getting to campus. If you can’t get to campus, check to see if the school is running any admissions or alumni receptions in your area and connect with the school through social media.
College is one of life’s great journeys but it requires some hard work along the way. Put your best effort into this process and make the most of all opportunities to connect with colleges and admission counselors. You’ll be glad you did more often than not.
If you would like some assistance with your college search, contact me today for a free 60-minute consultation.