How to Best Communicate with Colleges
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Vinay Bhaskara and Ronni Shaw in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
- Track Your Communication with Colleges
- Colleges Track Applicants Too
- The Power of Thank-You Notes
- Communicating with Admissions Officers on CollegeVine
Track Your Communication with Colleges
As you go through the college admissions process, keeping track of all your communications is crucial. While you may initially think that you will remember details from conversations with admissions officers, in reality, this information is easy to forget if you don’t keep a record of it.
Use a Spreadsheet to Track Interactions with Colleges
One way to track this information is to create a spreadsheet with separate tabs for each college or university that you connect with. You can then make notes each time you communicate with a college and include details like whom you spoke with, when you reached out, and the topics that you discussed.
For example, if you emailed an admissions counselor at Boston University in August to ask them a question about the sociology program, you could make a note about this in your spreadsheet. Then, if you need to follow up on this question or reach out to the university about a different matter, you have all the notes and information that you need to do so.
Don’t Ask the Same Question Twice
When you reach out to admissions officers with follow-up questions, make sure you’re not asking the same question more than once. This may indicate to a college that you are disorganized or not genuinely interested in knowing the answer or learning more about the school.
To avoid this, take notes from interactions with all schools, even if you don’t think that you are interested in a particular school at the time. For example, if you are at a college fair and meet Mrs. Shaw, an admissions officer from a university that is not yet on your list, you should still write down what you talked about. That way, if the school does become one that you are interested in, you have the notes to thoughtfully reach out to Mrs. Shaw and mention your conversation at the college fair.
Colleges Track Applicants Too
High school students are often busy with academics, social lives, and extracurricular activities, so adding communicating with colleges to this list can seem like a challenge. But it can be a crucial part of the admissions process, especially for schools that track student outreach and communication.
This is often referred to as tracking “demonstrated interest,” student actions that show interest in a college, like visiting a school, attending information sessions, applying early, or reaching out to admissions officers. Colleges that consider demonstrated interest in the admissions process will look at these actions alongside the student’s application when making an admissions decision.
If you are applying to schools that consider demonstrated interest, aim to communicate clearly and regularly with those colleges to show them that you are serious about the school. In doing this, you are also bound to learn more about it along the way.
The Power of Thank-You Notes
An important consideration when communicating with colleges is to prioritize sending thank-you notes.
If someone has done something relatively small for you, like answering a question that you had through email, an email thank-you note is usually sufficient. You just need to ensure that it reads well, includes your name and contact information, and that you use full sentences and good punctuation. Always be sure to edit your note and read it over again before you send it.
If you’ve met with someone at a college, like an admissions officer or professor, and they’ve had a long conversation with you or done you a big favor, you should try to send them a handwritten note.
A note like this can be short and sweet, but it can have a huge impact, especially since the recipient has to physically open and read it. Sending physical thank-you notes is not as common among high school students as it was in the past, so doing so can help you stand out among your peers. Don’t overlook the power of this gesture to help folks at colleges remember you and advocate for your admission.
Communicating with Admissions Officers on CollegeVine
As you communicate with colleges, keep in mind that you can also message your admissions officer directly on CollegeVine. This is a great option for many students and families because it helps them easily keep track of messages with admissions officers all in one place.