While it’s never a wise choice to apply to a college “just for the heck of it”, colleges know it happens, so when they’re making their final decisions some colleges give additional weight to students who have shown interest in their school in various ways. This is because students who have made contact are likely to know more about the school and have chosen to apply because it’s a good fit for them.
While not all colleges weigh this, making contact is still a smart thing to do as you narrow down your list of schools. Here are five things you can do to let colleges know that you’re seriously interested. You don’t have to do them all. Any contact you make is good and adds to your knowledge of the school.
- Get on the college’s mailing list. Most colleges have a place on their admissions page where you can sign up to get more info. This puts you on the college’s radar, so they can check in with you and/or notify you of any events they may be hosting in your area. (See #4)
- Attend the local college fair. This is a great way to meet the local representatives for the colleges you’re interested in and to ask any questions you may have. Making personal contact at the fair and picking up their business cards is a good thing to do in case you have questions later on.
- Visit the campus. While it is not always possible to visit the campus of every school you will be applying to, visiting the ones close to you is a wise choice. Be sure you do an “official” tour, as well as attend an information session, as these will give you access to information you might otherwise miss.
- Attend presentations offered by that particular college. Many college representatives visit high schools. If possible, you should attend these. If you have other commitments, ask your counselor if they could get the person’s business card for you so you can connect with them by email. Some colleges also offer public receptions where they present info about their school and its programs. Often you must register for these programs, so be sure you don’t skip that step.
- Sign up for an interview in the Fall. Not all colleges offer these, but if they do it can be a good idea to take advantage of the opportunity. Interviews are an excellent chance to find out more about the character of the school and to get any last minute questions answered. It also enables the college representative to put a face with a name – a good thing since they may be the one who does the first review of your application. (Appointments for interviews tend to fill quickly, so don’t put this off.)