Collegiate admissions offices often give students extra credit for interacting with them. Why? Because they believe students who show interest in their college are excited about them (and more likely) to attend. Whether you enroll or not after you get accepted affects a school’s rankings. Most colleges really, really care about their rankings.
Colleges keep track of a number of interactions. Here are some ways to demonstrate interest to a college during high school:
Get on the admissions mailing list – Even if you are already receiving mail or email from a college (they may have purchased your name from the PSAT, ACT or SAT), visit the school’s admissions website or call the admissions office and get your name added to the list.
Submit a contact card or get scanned at a college fair – Many colleges participate in college fairs. At these events, the schools have tables with representatives to talk with students and families interested in their school. Complete a contact card at the table or get your badge scanned so that the school knows you stopped by the table. Also, take the business card of the representative and send a thank you to her/him after the event.
Meet with college representatives – Admissions representatives promote their colleges by hosting information sessions in high schools across the country. If a college you’re interested in is visiting your school, attend the event. Alternatively, a representative from your college of interest may be visiting another school in your area or hosting an event at a local hotel or other place. Check with your guidance/college counselor or call the admissions office to find out if and when a representative will be in your area.
Correspond with an admissions officer – Check the college website for the name and email of the representative who covers your geographic territory. If the information is not on the website, call the admissions office. Then contact your representative with smart questions, the ones that can’t be answered by reading their website. Take care not to over-contact the admissions officer.
Email a professor – Learn more about your area of interest by reaching out to academic faculty. In fact, asking for the contact information for a specific professor is a great question to ask an admissions officer. At times, faculty members share feedback with the admissions office about students who truly interest them.
Visit campus – Stop by the admissions office and-or take the official campus tour. Or attend a campus information session. Keep in mind, colleges understand that some students live too far away to travel to campus or don’t have the money to visit.
Interview with an alum or admissions rep – If offered the chance to interview, do it! This is a great way to make a college connection, share positive information about yourself, and ask questions about the school.
Participate in online chats hosted by the college – In the digital age, many schools are turning to the internet to help with their recruitment efforts by hosting online chats for prospective students. Usually these sessions offer students a chance to ask questions directly of admissions officers, current students, and even faculty members.
Apply early action or early decision to the college.If there is a priority or rolling application deadline, the sooner you submit your application, the better.