How do you go about contacting alumni from a school you're interested in?

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Our counselors answered:

How do you go about contacting alumni from a school you're interested in?

Scott White
Director of Guidance Montclair High School

How do you go about contacting alumni from a school you're interested in?

Most high schools use Naviance to keep records like this and the school counselor can provide this information. if not, usually the admissions office has this information handy.

William Chichester

How do you go about contacting alumni from a school you're interested in?

Google search an alumni chapter of the college of your choice in your hometown. For example, if you are from Fairfax Virginia and you wanted to go to the University of Virginia, you should Google "University of Virginia alumni Fairfax" and see what comes up. If the alumni chapter has a website, find out who the officers of the club are and reach out to them via email to set up a 15-30 min informational interview where you ask the alumni about the school and their experiences.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

Contacting Alumni

I am always a big proponent of going through the admissions office. There is never any harm in demonstrating interest in a school--and one way to do this is to send queries through the college admissions office. Ask the admissions officer responsible for your geographic area to put you in touch with alumni who reside close by to your town.

Erin Avery
Certified Educational Planner Avery Educational Resources, LLC

Alumni 411

Reach out to the Alumni Office or the Career Services office at said college of interest. Also, you may reach out to the local alumni association in your area.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Alumni Connections

The admissions office will typically keep a list of alumni who are willing to talk to prospective students. Typically these will be recent grads who can relate to your phase in the search process. Keep in mind that you will do best just to listen to what they have to share. While it may feel biased, you can be sure it is sincere, as these folks are volunteering their time to talk to you. Make sure you have a list of questions to keep the dialogue going and in a direction that is useful to you. Recognize that there is a difference between an information interview and an evaluative interview and proceed accordingly.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

How do you go about contacting alumni from a school you're interested in?

Many colleges have alumni associations which you may contact. You can access those associations via the school's main website. In addition, if you contact the admissions office, you might also be able to find alumni who volunteer with the admissions office to act as liaisons between the school and prospective students.

Mark Corkery
Head College Counselor International College Admissions Network (I-CAN)

Steps to Finding and Meeting with College Alumni

1) Talk to every adult, friend, brother or sisters of friends to learn who knows alumni of the colleges to which you are targeting for admission. Make appointments to meet with them to discuss your interest in their alma mater. Everyone has resources and connections. Use your network -- everyone -- that you know and ask them if they know anyone that graduated from the colleges you are considering. 2) You can also contact the admission office of the colleges as well to get lists of alumni who have given their office permission to give out their names and contact information for students like you who are considering their campus. 3) Attend college fairs at your high school or in the surrounding area. Admissions officers cannot attend all the college fairs in the country, they utilize their alumni networks to man or woman the tables at the fair. Asking at the table for some of their time either at the fair or afterwards to answer your questions, this is an instant connection, adding them to your list of contacts for the schools you are interested in. 4) Meeting with alumni and referencing these meetings can add to your application. It shows a higher predictability of your attending if they admit you. Colleges today are looking for every way to predict if you would attend if they admit.

Helen Cella

How do you go about contacting alumni from a school you're interested in?

Contact the school's alumni office

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

Meeting alums

All colleges and universities have alumni networks. Call the admissions office and ask them to connect you with alums in your area.

Suzan Reznick
Independent Educational Consultant The College Connection

Contact the school first.

It is not your job to reach out to alumni. Assuming that you might be interested in an alumni interview, you need to request them. Often an interview will only be offered after your applications has been submitted. Schools prefer to ensure that they would not be wasting their alum's time, unless you are serious about their school. But you cannot be sure of the schools' policy unless you reach out to admissions. Then you may be given the contact info or the alumni might be contacting you first. While alumni interviews do not "count" much in your admissions decision; it can give you some needed insight into a campus. And it would put you on the radar of a college, especially if you have not yet had the chance to visit.