How to Build Relationships with Admissions Officers


I'm writing to invite you to join me for my next free training webinar How To Build Relationships with Admissions Officers.

I'm hosting this webinar because most college applicants are too fearful and tentative to approach admissions officers and college personnel. But if you don't approach these people, you will miss a critical opportunity to stand out to your top college. 

Think about it, and pretend that you're an admissions officer. You have two applicants with relatively similar profiles of GPA, test scores, and extracurriculars. You can only admit one of these two students; there's simply not room for both.

Who do you think you would be more likely to admit? The student who you know personally and like, or the student who has no obvious connection to the university beyond what's written in the essays? 

You guessed it: As the admissions officer, when you know someone outside of the...

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Do you need to demonstrate interest?

Do you need to demonstrate interest?

Here’s the college consultant’s answer: it depends.

According to NACAC (Nat’l Association of College Admissions Counseling), 21% of colleges rated demonstrated interest as considerably important to their evaluation.  Demonstrating your interest will show that you’re engaged and interested in the college. You may, therefore, be more likely to attend this college – which is a big deal to colleges when they’re figuring out who to admit (# of admits who attend affects their ranking).

Ways to demonstrate interest include college visits, alumni receptions, follow-up phone calls from your school counselor, communication with admissions officers and professors, writing “optional” essays, legacy connection and the timing of your applications (e.g. Early Decision 1 or 2).

 Even when a college does not formally consider demonstrated interest, it can count favorably for you to find a way to...

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What to Do When You Contact Admissions Officers

I mentioned last week that there are four “places” from which you can build relationships with college admissions officers, professors, alumni, and administrators.

Where to Contact Admissions Officers

1) College tours. Some Regional admissions reps will be willing to meet face-to-face with students. JHU, for example, has admissions officers who offer admission interviews.

2) Email. To request a meeting (if you go on a tour) or an informational phone call. You can ask your questions over email and offer them the chance to talk with you at their convenience.

3) School and regionally-based college fairs. Regional reps will show up to your local area to represent their college. Before these events, come prepared with questions and do your research ahead of time.

4) Local alumni networks. Learn about campus life by connecting with alumni in your community. This also includes alumni of your high school who may attend colleges you’re interested in.


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How and Why You Want to Build Relationships with Admissions Officers

If you read the title of this post and got a shiver down your spine, a racing heart, or a tightness in your body, you’re not alone. Many students are afraid to approach professors, admissions officers and other personnel of the college. I totally understand your pain, but if you don’t work through the fear, you’re going to miss out on the opportunity to learn something important and to make a positive impression.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. The college application process is preparation for the “real world.” The journey of preparing for and putting together your college applications should be very similar to how you would approach a job search or a career change. In a job search. you might hear the phrase, it’s not always what you know; it’s who you know. Well, guess what? This mantra this applies to college admissions too. So if you can’t make a personal connection with someone at the college, you’re...

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Don’t Make An Admissions Officer Check Your Instagram

I promised this week to help you make good use of your social media. Students and parents are rightfully concerned about how social media will or will not be used in college admissions. These concerns are even more intense with the recent story out of Harvard where several students had admissions offers revoked due to inappropriate use of memes on social media.

Don’t Make An Admissions Officer Check Your Instagram

Let me allay your fears right away about this instance; it is the exception, not the rule. In my experience on the admissions committee, we checked social media (and used Google) only when: 1) We had a question about something an applicant wrote and wanted to see what else we could find on his/her background. For example, we would sometimes check on certain activities to see if the student’s claims could be verified. 2) We found something listed on the application fascinating and we looked it up for more information.

So will your social media be checked or not?...

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3 Activities Guaranteed to Impress Admissions Officers

In the last entry, I told you about Mike who started his own peer-review club to help him finish his book, which he published on

Now I’ll share with you a list of other activities that admissions officers consider to be absolutely outstanding. The important point here is that these activities have NOTHING to do with what’s available at your school. Even if you like your school clubs, trust me, these three things are much more impressive than most opportunities that are available for you at school:

Independent academic research. Outside of your papers for class, this is a research project that may or may not involve co-authorship or supervision by a professor at a university local to your community. Universities love providing opportunities for undergraduates to do research so they absolutely adore when they find out that a student already has experience and inclination toward research. Helpful hint: This activity is not only super impressive, it also can help...

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How to Persuade Admissions Officers to Admit You - Newsletter launch!

So excited to launch my weekly newsletter. Here's a copy of the first issue!
What are you doing in your school, community, or family to make a difference? This is one of the most important questions you can answer for admissions officers as you go to write your essay, demonstrate your leadership through your activities, and call attention to in your application by choosing the right teachers to recommend you.

Regardless of where you are in the process, the first thing you need to think about is YOU. You may think that the college process is all about molding yourself to whatever the college or grad program wants you to become –that elusive “perfect” applicant.

The truth is that there is no perfect applicant out there. You can’t rewrite someone else’s essay who got into Harvard and expect to be admitted. You can’t join the same club or activity as someone who got into Yale and expect to get in. That’s hocus-pocus college prep and an...

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Why You Need to Build Relationships with College Admissions Officers

I wrote a post on why applicants need to build relationships with college admissions officers and others at the college in order to stand out.

As I write, college admissions is NOT a numbers game, reliant on test scores only. It’s a human connection that provides an opportunity to build awareness about who you are as an applicant and what you have to offer the world. When college admissions officers know who you are, they’re going to be interested in you. They’re going to learn about your values, and assess if YOU can offer a benefit to them by attending their college/university. Students can be part of shaping that conversation by reaching out to admissions officers and professors. If students can talk clearly about what they do and why they’ll do it, they’ll have the opportunity to earn the trust and praise of college admissions officers.

Read more here.

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