Top Five Ways to Impress the Admissions Officer
By Liluye Jhala, ApplyWise counselor
March 12, 2009
Figure out the top five ways to impress the admissions officer.
For your part, ask the admissions officer a few qualitative, NOT quantitative, questions. A quantitative question might be about Brown¹s average SAT score, an answer to which you could easily find on Brown’s website or in any college guidebook. As a matter of fact, before you attend any kind of university function for prospective students, you should already know the following about the school:
- Required tests and courses. Do you have to take SAT II subject tests or four years of a foreign language?
- The school’s general curriculum and grading basics. A university may offer a range from a core curriculum to an open curriculum to a great-books program. Also familiarize yourself with the university’s grading system.
- Their current admission stats: the academic and standardized test averages of admitted students (i.e. the mean class rank, GPA, SAT etc.).
- The majors, minors, or concentrations offered. After all, you cannot study Egyptology everywhere.
- Their financial aid and/or work-study programs.
If you have a firm grasp on all of the above, you won’t be tempted to ask questions you should already know the answer to. Here’s an example of a qualitative question that impressed me: “How has President Simmons’ push for globalization influenced the research areas in the international relations department or expanded study abroad options?” Try to ask a question that digs deeper into the academic and social experience of being a student at that specific school.4. End the conversation on a good note
Harassing the admissions officer by dominating the conversation or monopolizing his or her time will leave a bad impression. Instead, after asking your three thoughtful, qualitative questions, end the conversation by saying, “I do have more questions, but let me give you time to meet with other students. Can I have your email/business card so I can keep in touch?” Be sure to say thank you and goodbye with a firm handshake.
When you get home, review your notes from the day. Then, write the admissions officer a short thank you e-mail, mentioning a few details from your prior conversation. Make sure you include your first and last name, high school, and the date of your conversation. This will help your admissions officer remember your face out of the hundreds, maybe thousands, of students from his or her fall recruitment travels. Use this e-mail to ask another follow-up question and make sure you convey how genuinely enthusiastic you are about the possibility of getting into their school. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get a response. Remember, you are demonstrating sincere interest and that leaves a lasting impression.
Armed with these tips, you will make a wonderful first and lasting impression on the college admissions officers of your top schools. Work hard this semester and remember to have fun while researching schools. Good luck!
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