Once you’ve sent in your college applications, you might think that there’s nothing else you can do to sway an admissions counselor in your favor. But that’s not always true. Here are a few ways to help your odds in the college admissions game.
While you’re waiting, visit the school and get involved. Schools like to know that they’re more than just a back-up option, so if you take the time to sign up for a school tour, talk with faculty members, take part in campus activities, and participate in an interview, admissions counselors will appreciate the fact that you’re eager to become a part of their community.
Interact with the college community online. In some cases, admissions officers manage their colleges’ profiles on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Become a fan of the school, and start corresponding by asking relevant questions about the academic programs you’re interested in, or sending a note of congratulations for a recent award the school may have won. Don’t use this method to check on the status of your application, or to promote yourself as a candidate—but by engaging with the school community, you may be more likely to leave an impression on the admission officer who makes a decision on your application.
Send updates of recent awards or important activities. While you don’t want to get in your admissions officer’s face too often, if there’s something buzz-worthy going on in your life that didn’t make it onto your college application, by all means, let the school know about it. If the officers haven’t made a decision about you yet, finding out that your school science project just won a national prize might sway the odds in your favor.
Double-check with your high school that all necessary information has been filed. When an entire grade is going through the college admissions process, it’s easy for important materials to get lost in the shuffle—and just because you did your part doesn’t mean that your application is complete. To make sure that the colleges you’ve selected have all the right information on file, ask your high school’s college advisor to make sure that transcripts, recommendations, and other important details have been sent off.
Be creative. Don’t go overboard, but sometimes sending an original postcard or newsletter can help you stand out. Just keep it fun and friendly—resorting to bribery or doing anything that reeks of desperation is bound to turn admissions counselors off.
Do nothing. At many ultra-selective schools, admissions officers are sorting through mountains of applications, and don’t want to be bothered with more information after the stated deadline. Depending on the school, going overboard can actually hurt your chances of getting in—so, before sending in additional materials or a letter, have a look at your top school’s admissions guidelines, and see if it says anything about their perspective on materials sent after the deadline. In most cases, following up won’t cause problems, but it would be a shame if your hand-decorated letter went straight into the trash bin.
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