If you’re a student who doesn’t want to be an anonymous electronic file when your application is read by Ivy League admissions officers, there’s something you can do about it. Too often, we find that students – either because of shyness or a desire not to come across as sycophants – are reluctant to reach out to admissions officers and thereby cannot forge relationships that, in the end, can be quite helpful. Contacting admissions officers, after all, shows interest. And interest matters in the highly competitive game of college admissions.
We encourage our students to reach out to Ivy League admissions officers and we encourage them to make contact the right way. Does that mean Friending your regional admissions officer on Facebook or emailing him every time you win an award? Absolutely not! These kinds of contact may indeed hurt rather than help your candidacy.
And what about asking a question to your regional admissions counselor when she visits your high school? Sure. You can absolutely do that. But chances are slim that she’ll actually remember who you are and that you asked such an insightful question. Admissions counselors visit tons of high schools, meet with a lot of students, and how insightful of a question about a college could you really have asked anyway?
But there are other ways to leave a stronger impression on Ivy League admissions officers. You can email them asking a specific question that demonstrates your knowledge about their university. You can ask about a particular academic program, major, or research opportunity. If you get a response – which you likely will – be sure to thank them. It’s these kinds of interactions that an admissions officer may very well remember when they come across your file. The fact is, admissions officers are people and you’ll always go to bat for someone you like over someone you don’t know at all.