I was surprised to learn something I hadn’t realized with our first two children, and now that I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it multiple times. And if we didn’t know this when we went through the college search with our oldest two, there’s a good chance some of you didn’t realize this either:
Admission Counselors want to build a relationship with your student.
Make no mistake, in a competitive environment where schools have more applicants than spaces, you want them to know who you are. You may need them to know who you are. I’ve had AC’s tell me it matters if they remember you.
When you’ve decided where you’re going to apply to college, there are at least two compelling reasons to pursue a relationship with the institution’s Admissions Counselor:
1. They are your human link to the school.
During the application process and after acceptance, you’re going to have questions. If you’re AC doesn’t know the answer, he’ll be able to connect you with the person who does. Some schools are more complicated that others, and it’s the AC’s role to help you navigate their system. They’re there to recruit and serve potential students, so do not discount their motive and ability to help YOU.
2. They’re watching you.
Seriously…Admissions Counselors are tracking your contact with them. And know this: it’s the student they’re interested in hearing from, not the parents. They’ll track contact by email, phone, text, campus visit, conversation at a College Fair–virtually every way a touch can be made.
Set yourself apart by demonstrating sincere interest.
As I’ve already said, it matters if your preferred colleges’ admissions counselors remember you. It’s in your best interest to make a good and lasting impression and there are simple ways to assure their notice. Most students aren’t going to bother with the little things; you’ll stand out when you do.
1. Return phone calls. Yep, if they call you, call them back. This is not the time to exercise your phone aversion.
2. Return emails. Yep, if they email you, email them back. It doesn’t have to be long but pay attention to good grammar, punctuation, and typos.
3. When you take a campus tour, be sure to meet your area’s AC. Campus tours are often led by student ambassadors, which is great because you’ll hear the perspective of people just like you. But while you’re there, don’t miss a chance to meet the people in the admissions office. It might feel awkward to continually put yourself out there, but it can only help you and it’s worth the extra effort.
An admissions counselor cannot help you gain entry if you don’t meet the college’s requirements, but their job is to find and recruit the best and brightest for their school. They’re there to serve and support you and it would be a crying shame if you don’t take full advantage of their help.
Next time we’re going to talk about one of the most frustrating things when it comes to the college search. Stay tuned as we discuss an issue of “world hunger” proportion :).