An Overlooked Strategy for College Admissions and Applications

May 15, 2013
May 15, 2013 ACS

There is no question that getting into college these days is as competitive as it has ever been. High school students are trying to score high on the college entrance exams, attempting to write masterpiece essays, and taking a plethora of Advanced Placement tests to boost their GPA.

But according to Joan Martin Roth, Ph.D., there is a key strategy that most students are overlooking: how a student enthusiastically presents him or herself to the college by creating a bond with the geographic representative or a professor.

Roth has this important advice.

Students should create a strong connection!

  • Students can do this by being proactive. You need to research each college on its website before making any contact so you can determine how you fit with each college. Look at specific programs, departments, courses, and professors that meet your academic and intellectual pursuits.
  • If you are interested in a specific college, make a connection. Use the information you have learned and email a professor at the college about your interest in his or her courses and/or research. Also, ask to see a reading list and ask if there are any links so you can read his or her research.
  • Now, if the professor emails you back, you will need to continue to correspond with that professor by asking more detailed questions and asking if you could possibly meet with him or her when you visit the campus. Most professors will copy your correspondence to the Admissions Office, which is exactly what you want to happen.
  • After doing this, you should email the geographic college representative for you area and explain your interaction with the professor.

In addition, Roth advises on what not to do.

  • There is a new buzzword called a “stealth applicant,” a student who applies to colleges without making any contact with the college, professors, or Admissions Office.
  • With the “Common Application” and the Internet so popular these days, students are now seen as faceless applicants. And, the Admissions Office receives a plethora of these applications. This makes the Admissions Office ask the question, “Should we accept the ‘stealth applicant’ with the high test scores and GPA or the applicant who has demonstrated unusual enthusiasm through visits, interviews, and continued contact with a local representative?”
  • Look at it this way: If you have two students with identical or similar test scores and GPA, extracurricular activities, and strong essays, and they are competing for the same spot at a college, the one with the strong connection to the campus will always win out even if his or her academic index in a little lower.

So in addition to attaining a high GPA, test scores, and writing a great essay, you really need to make that connection to the colleges you are thinking about going to. If you need help or advice in doing this, please contact us and we can discuss all of your needs to make you the best possible applicant to your dream college.


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