There’s a trend in college admissions called the “stealth applicant.” These are students that never officially show interest in a college until they actually apply for admission. The students might have visited a college fair and grabbed materials from the Admissions Officer. They may have done an unofficial tour of the college. And, they may have visited the college websites numerous times. But, they never “said” to the college, “I’m interested in you.”
There could be many reasons students choose not to share their interest before the application. I’m here to tell you all of the reasons it’s a good idea to let colleges know you’re interested:
- The colleges will send you more information that might not be available on their website or in their publications.
- You’ll be notified about ways to visit campus, including prospective student events. This could even mean being invited to fly-in programs where the college will take care of your travel arrangements.
- Some colleges might waive the application fee for students they “know.”
- You’ll be reminded about important deadlines and information about the application process.
- Admission Counselors are more likely to advocate for you when it’s time to make a decision on your application.
- You’ll be able to connect with people that are associated with the university and ask your questions.
Not all of the above reasons to connect are guaranteed to happen. But, there’s a chance they could happen. Why not put yourself out there and connect with the college? It doesn’t hurt and it’s free.
There are many ways to connect with the institutions. You can do one or all of the suggestions below to connect with a college.
- Sign-up for the mailing list. Most colleges make it very easy to sign up to receive more information about their institution. Just head over to the main university page and find your way to the admissions/prospective students page. Fill out the form for “more information” and you’ll start receiving mail and emails from the college.
- Visit college table at local college fair. Visit the college at a local college fair and do more than grab materials and move onto the next table. Introduce yourself to the representative and ask questions. The person on the other side of the table will have a lot of insight into the admissions process and could possibly be the person that will be making the decision on your application.
- Attend information sessions. If the colleges you are interested in attending visit your high school or area, attend their information session. The presentation will give you general information about the university and admission. An advantage to attending presentations is that you’ll probably also get to hear personal stories about the university that are not always shared in the printed publications and website. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with an Admissions Officer and ask questions
- Visit campus. Visiting the colleges you are interested in is probably the most important step you can take in deciding if a college is for you or not. Every piece of material you receive from the college will be marketing. The whole purpose of the publications you receive is to make you want to attend the college. You’ll never know for sure if the college is the place for you until you step on campus and see how it feels to you.
- Follow college on social media. Each platform offers something a little different and is worth checking out.
- Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest – Colleges will use these platforms to share information about admission, news about the college and general information about college and higher education. By following the main university pages, you can learn about other pages or groups that are more specific to your interest, such as Admissions, a sporting team or an academic major. If you spend time on these pages and observe the people that participate on the page, you can connect with them. These people could be current students, alumni, faculty, staff or even other prospective students.
- YouTube – You’ll find many different types of videos on the college YouTube channels. In addition to marketing videos, you’ll probably also find virtual campus tours, student produced videos and videos of lectures. Viewing videos on the YouTube channel is especially important when you haven’t visited campus because you’ll get a feel for the personality of the college.
- LinkedIn – Connecting to universities on LinkedIn is a new feature. However, it offers something the other social media platforms don’t – reviews are featured on the page and you can connect with the alumni that are posting the reviews. This is a great opportunity to see what students that attended the college have to say about the college, as well as where the alumni are today.
- Get to know your Admission Counselor. At most colleges, the Admission Counselor is a very important person, especially to you. At many colleges, the Admission Counselor that works with students from your geographic area will be the person that makes the decision on your application. Making a good impression, showing your interest in the college and connecting with the Admission Counselor in general can benefit you during the application decision time.
Connecting with colleges is a great way to get as much information about a college a possible. Because college is such a huge investment in time and money, you want to make sure you learn as much as you can. In addition to helping to give you as much information as possible, connecting with the college could potentially help you during the college admission process. Why not check them out and let them know you’re interested?
Join me next time when we discuss summer activities.
Check out the other tips for Rising Seniors: