Does it matter how many contacts a student has with the school?
Here is my video response to the question.
It can matter, yes. It can have a positive impact if the contacts are “quality” contacts – if they are to ask good questions, to express sincere interest in the college, or to comment on the tour you took or something that has occurred at the college that interests you. No admissions officer has time for trivial contacts, but all appreciate sincere interest in their college.
There is not a magical number, but if the student is interested in attending the college contact is important. Check in with the admissions office when you visit. Make an appointment to speak with an officer. Talk with the financial aid office. And don’t forget to email them afterwards thanking them for their time. If you don’t show interest in them, they won’t show interest in you.
There is no set number of contacts a student should make with a college or admission reps. Certainly, the student should check with his or her counselor or the college website to get a feel for how contact will be received. Some colleges like to limit contacts, especially during busy season or when the school is evaluating waitlist candidates. Students do not want to seem annoying or desperate, and neither do their counselors. When should a student contact a school? Usually, he or she should do this when there is an important development which affects the candidacy. This could be an academic or athletic award or other form of recognition that enhances the profile.
The precise number of contacts isn’t as important as the quality of that contact. Some kids just “like” the school on facebook and call it a day. Other have long chats with admissions officers at college fairs or school visits. Still other attend campus tours and informational sessions, and even sign up for optional interviews.
Where the precise number of contacts may matter is if a student (and especially his/her parents) contact the school TOO MANY times. No one likes a pest, right?
if you can manage your contact in a positive way, then your chance of getting acceptence will not been damaged.
if you are contacting the department other than the admisisons office, it is different in a case by case basis.
if you are using campuse visits and personal introductions to contract the school, you are doing so to show strong interests for admissions.
Something students do not know is that colleges are constantly tracking how and when you are contacting them. Colleges actually track every way in which they contact you, and you contact them. Each form of contact is weighted differently, with many giving point values to each form of contact. This basically means that the more points you accrue through communicating with that college, the more interested you theoretically are. The admissions office tracks these students, and will take into account how interested a student is in their school. This helps even more once the student is accepted, as they will be invited to more exclusive admitted students events, along with being considered for more scholarship money if the student appeals their award.
For some colleges it can make a difference. Small and mid sized colleges are more likely to consider your interest and contacts with the school in the admission decision. Will it cover for poor grades or test scores? No. Be proactive, introduce yourself and keep in touch (don’t stalk the counselor!).
Some schools track student interest and use that as a small factor in the admissions decision. They may look at if you visited campus, attended a college rep visit at your high school, emailed an admissions counselor etc. Be careful though, there is a fine line between interested and being annoying. If have too much contact with admissions, it may make you appear needy or demanding. Do not just email admission for the sake of it, make sure you have valid reason for doing so.
Other schools do not track this information and it has no barring on their admission decision.
Either way, I would hope that you would attend an info session and campus tour and contact admission if need be.
I think it depends on the college and the kinds/numbers of contacts in question. Having an aunt who went to the college 20 years ago is different than your dad playing golf with the provost.
My own children have (literally) 14 relatives who graduated from a certain selective university, but it seems that they will have to make their own way; legacy SAT scores are actually trending higher at that particular university than scores of the rest of the acceptees, which means it’s actually tougher to be admitted. (I will clarify that I don’t think there is a bias against legacies per se, but that the school is simply reaching into different demographic segments, and with more fervor).
Reach out to all your contacts, though. Even if a contact cannot provide direct assistance/influence, they often can help indirectly, by letting you know more about the institution and the best practices for admittance.
Yes it can. It is called “tracking interest.” Every college does not do this. A college will be honest and let you know if they do this, but only if you ask. This does NOT mean call and email the admissions counselors on a daily or weekly basis! It means call or email when you have questions or to check on your application status. If a representative visits your school, make sure you go talk to them. Go to visit the school, go to events they are hosting such as open houses or local information sessions (usually held at a hotel or convention center). They keep track of all of these things and you will be on their radar.
Yes of course it matters as it is considered Demonstrated Interest each time a student reaches out to a college or university. Think of it this way – when applying for a job each time you contact the potential employer they get a sense of who your are, your focus on their company, your professionalism and the job you are trying to obtain. Getting an admissions team to “look” at you is no different. The more you are genuinely interested in them the more they become interested in you!
It depends on the school. Some colleges track demonstrated interest and others specifically state that they do not.
Yes, demonstrated interest is sometimes a consideration, especially given the fact that schools want students on their campuses who want to be there. How it is viewed varies from school to school, but like early decision, contacts show your interest and desire to attend. At the same time, your desire to attend only goes so far, and even if a school has had only minimal contact with a student if their record is truly outstanding, the school is unlikely to deny admission. However, there have certainly been times when schools have decided not to waste a spot on a qualified student whom they assume—rightly or wrongly—is unlikely to attend.
College admissions officers want to know that if accepted, a student will attend. You can demonstrate your interest in a school through “contacts”. If a college fair is in your area, visit the booth and fill out a card; email the admissions office; visit the campus; etc. There are many ways to show that you are interested and if there is a decision between you and another candidate, this may just push you over the edge.
No, but you want to find the balance. You do want to express your genuine interest, but at the same time, you don’t want to overwhelm (or annoy) the admissions staff. Be respectful of their time.
While contacts will definitely matter for schools who “track interest”, it won’t make a bit of difference to others that are so large and have so many applicants they cannot possibly track contacts. So, your goal is to discover which schools track interest and make sure you “show the love” to those that do. As a rule, smaller, liberal arts colleges are more concerned with your interest level. Larger, public universities find they cannot possibly track this information. Bottom line – contact and visit those schools who track interest making your interest in them known and certainly contact the other schools when you need information but don’t think it will make a difference in the application decision.
Obviously, this assumes phone & em contacts, but you don’t want to be a pest if the answers are available w/o a phone call. However, contacting higher ups who you met (you did meet some, didn’t you) on your numerous visits is a completely different matter.
Not really. Sure it might help, but ultimately schools are looking for the students that will fit best within that school. The number of kids with ‘contacts’ is never going to be enough that you will be denied a place over the kid whose mom works in human resources. Schools recognize that most students don’t have much connection with colleges, hence the lengthy application process so they can get to know you.
Obviously you don’t want to make a nuisance of yourself. However, if you have specific questions regarding the universities you are applying to (that aren’t answered on the university’s website,) why not contact their admissions office and ask? The caveat here is that you ask politely, and do not call every day. Being “one of those” students can actually hurt your chances of admission, as admissions officers don’t want problem students or parents. If in doubt, ask your guidance counselor to reach out.
Questions to Ask Admissions Offices
1. How many applications do you expect to receive, and how many students will be offered admission?
2. How much weight is given to the essay as part of the whole application?
3. How many people evaluate each application?
4. What kind of rubrics are used?
Admissions officers should have no problem answering these questions for you. It always shocks me as I work with students how little they take advantage of this resource.
Demonstrated interest is the term used today when referring to campus contact. While some schools will log and make note of any email, phone, mail, or in person visits and take that as a sign of interest; other schools don’t care or take the time to track those contacts. Those schools who care about your interaction with their campus do so because they see it as a way of determining how likely you are to enroll, should you be offered admission. Schools would much rather enroll students who sincerely want to be there, than those who are “phantom apps”, meaning they have never heard of the student until the application is submitted. While there is no magic number of contacts, make sure you don’t over do it and become a pest.
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