Parents and students often ask us if college admission officers know the other colleges to which a student applies. It would be easy to say no but it’s not exactly true. Do college admission officers call admission officers at other universities to find out if Johnny also submitted an application there? No. Has it happened? Yes. But, typically, college admission officers don’t do this. They simply don’t have the time. And, frankly, they don’t care. They know you have to apply to other colleges if you’re applying Regular Decision. They know you’re not just depending on getting in at their university.
But remember we said it’s not exactly true. So how can college admission officers know the other universities to which you applied? Well, in your college alumni interview, maybe the alumni interviewer flat out asked you. It’s not necessarily an appropriate question to ask an applicant but, in most cases, alumni interviewers aren’t trained. They don’t have a predetermined set of questions to ask and sometimes they pose questions like this.
These alumni interviewers could then write down in their report on your interview the other universities you’re applying to…and then college admission officers will know this information! Of course, sometimes students volunteer this information during the alumni interview unprompted. We advise against this (see what else college applicant’s shouldn’t do on college alumni interviews). It’s none of the college’s business where else you’re applying!
Check back in a future post to learn if the same is true for applicants who apply Early Decision. Do colleges share that information so they know who committed to a school? Find out soon. And have a look at this recent “Main Street” press article on college applications in which Ivy Coach is featured.