By Elizabeth LaScala
The Secret Sauce in College AdmissionsUploaded: Nov 12, 2012
It is true that showing your interest in a college can be a tip factor in getting that acceptance letter.
Visiting your colleges, writing to ask intelligient questions to learn more about a particular program, and getting to know the college admissions representative assigned to your school, are all very smart moves to make.
Did you know that most four-year colleges in the United States have a college admissions representative assigned to every high school? This representative is someone who is on the staff of the on-campus admissions office. College admissions offices usually divide responsibility for high schools by geographic region. In other words, an admissions office might assign the high schools in New York City to one officer, Southern California to another and the states of Idaho, South and North Dakota to yet another. The college tries to cover the entire United States and many colleges also cover selected countries and territories abroad.
Exactly What Do These Reps Do?
A part of the job description for every representative is spending time (usually in the fall) in his or her assigned geographic areas, meeting high school counselors, getting to know the schools, holding admissions meetings for students at individual schools or offering larger meetings for many high schools at a local hotel or other large meeting place. Admissions reps also participate in joint admissions meetings with other colleges, so a student can get acquainted with more than one college at the same time.
What's Most Important for You to Know?
While every college has its own selection process, often it is the admissions rep assigned to your high school that first reads your application, rates it according to some prescribed set of factors and writes a summary comment. Sometimes the application then goes to other admissions readers, sometimes to a committee and sometimes straight to the Dean of Admission for the final decision.
If you are able to meet face to face with an admissions representative, do your best to make a good, sincere and lasting impression. That representative might become an advocate for you, possibly arguing your case in admissions selection meetings.
How and When to Communicate with College Representatives
There are a number of ways in which you can communicate with a college rep, including:
1. Sending an initial email and then continuing with meaningful, subsequent emails back and forth
2. Meeting him or her at your school during an official rep visit
3. Going to a college for a visit and set up a personal one-on-one admissions interview
4. Meeting the rep at a local gathering in your hometown, like a college fair.
5. And remember to always follow-up a meeting or visit with a thank you note.
It just makes good sense to get to know the admissions representative assigned to your high school. People who have met and know you are more likely to advocate for you instead of other unknown applicants who do not take the time to reach out.
Elizabeth LaScala guides students and their families through the complex world of college and graduate school admissions. She develops college lists, supports college essay writing and offers tools and strategies to help students tackle each step of the admissions process with confidence and success. Elizabeth serves clients in Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda and throughout California. Visit www.doingcollege.com email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (925) 891-4491.