We’re often asked how college applicants should develop relationships with admissions officers. This usually raises a red flag for us. We often want to ask, “What have you done?” Can it be beneficial if a student develops a relationship with an admissions officer? Yes, we’ve seen it work and we’ve helped our students develop these relationships. But ‘relationships’ is probably the wrong word. If you’re thinking that it’s important to contact admissions officers every Friday to wish them a great weekend, we’ve got two words for you: oy vey. For our readers who need a translation of Yiddish, we shall translate it for you as: don’t be that crazy person. Perhaps this is not the exact translation but we ad-libbed. Deal with it.
If you’re communicating with an admissions officer, these communications need to be strategic. They need to not be annoying. They need to not be sycophant because that’s so transparent. Nobody likes that kid. Nobody likes the teacher’s pet. People want to fly paper airplanes at the teacher’s pet in the front row. You know you’ve thought about it. And admissions officers don’t like the sycophant teacher’s pet either. They’d probably fly paper airplanes at that kid, too, if they could. So don’t be this crazy person.
If you have a genuine question, by all means ask an admissions officer. But that question better be appropriate and worthy of emailing. If you’re emailing an admissions officer to find out what the Residential Colleges are all about at Yale, consider reading about it in a brochure instead. Do your homework. Asking a Yale admissions officer such a question reflects a certain laziness and failure to do your homework. And if you’re wondering if a student needs to cultivate a relationship with an admissions officer in order to get into his or her dream college, absolutely not. Has it been helpful for some of our students in the past? Yes. Do all of our students do this? No. Don’t force it, especially if it doesn’t mesh with a student’s personality. It’s not necessary. It can backfire on a student. But, yes, if done properly (as our students always do it since they run every proposed email or question by us and we help them refine every last one), it can benefit an applicant.
Remember…just don’t be that crazy person. Oy vey. Remember, the Tina Fey-starring movie “Admission” was a work of fiction! Fiction.