Many students choose to learn about colleges on their own without showing any interest in the college. These students are what colleges call “stealth applicants.” Stealth applicants are students who never officially show interest in a college until they send in their application for admission. The student might have attended a college fair and grabbed materials from the table. They may have done an unofficial tour of the college. And, they may have visited the college website numerous time. However, they never “said” to the college, “I’m interested in you.”
There are a number of reasons students choose not to share their interest before the application. However, I am here to tell you of all of the reasons it is 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 could be more likely to advocate for you when it’s time to make a decision on your application because they might know more about you than a stealth applicant they just met.
- You’ll be able to connect with people who 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. 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 who will be making the decision on your application. The impression you give the admission officer could also stay with them long after you leave the college fair and could come into play when admission decisions are made.
- Attend information sessions. Attend information session of colleges you’re interested in when they are in your area. The presentation will give you general information about the university and admission, as well as personal stories that are not always shared in printed publications and websites. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with an Admissions Officer and/or others associated with the college.
- 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, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. – 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 who 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 will allow you to learn about the institution. A list of noteable alumni, places where alumni now work, and recommendations are all available on LinkedIn for colleges.
- 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 who works with students from your geographic area will be the person who makes the decision on your application or could be your advocate when your application is reviewed by the admissions committee. 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?