At its core, the college admissions process is all about communication. 

Your application is the primary way you communicate your achievements and talents to the college admissions office; every essay, recommendation, and form helps to convey that information. However, one thing students should know is that they should feel free to communicate with the admissions office outside of their formal application. The two best ways to do this are by talking with admissions officers at college fairs (or at your school, if they visit) and by simply calling or emailing the office itself.

Speaking to an admissions officer can be a very stressful experience for students, which is something that college admissions officers understand well.  I can still remember being a nervous high school student at college fairs, talking to a representative from a school that I really wanted to attend. However, every student should keep in mind that college admissions officers are excited to meet you. These officers have decided to represent an institution because they believe in its mission, and they relish opportunities to talk to students. If there’s one message that I hope to communicate in this post, it is that admissions officers should not be seen as intimidating.  So, if there’s a school that you’re interested in at a college fair, feel free to walk up to the table and engage the representative who is standing there. These meetings can be extra beneficial if you have some thoughtful questions about the institution; take a few minutes before the fair to jot down some questions you would like an admissions officer to answer. Make sure the answers to these questions aren’t ones you could easily look up on the website. Don’t be surprised if the admissions officer takes your contact information and follows up with you later! 

However, if you have a question about a college but don’t have a chance to meet a representative, you should feel free to contact the admissions office directly by phone or email. Many admissions offices will even assign counselors to different parts of the country; if you have a question, go on the college’s website to find out who your regional representative is and send him or her an email with your question. This can be doubly beneficial because at some schools, your regional admissions officer might even be responsible for reading your application, and it’s always good to leave a positive impression! Additionally, some colleges will track "demonstrated interest" and make a note of every communication in a file, which may eventually work in your favor during the decision process. Keep in mind that this file will also contain any negative experiences they have with you—even if it's with a receptionist! So, make sure you always speak politely on the phone, regardless of whom you’re speaking to. As long as you’re contacting them with a real question or issue (as we discussed previously, these are things you can’t easily look up on the website), you can’t really go wrong by contacting the admissions office.

When going through this process, it’s important to remember that colleges are just as excited to find out more about you as you are to find out more about them. Admissions officers welcome questions and look forward to the opportunity to meet prospective students at fairs and high school visits. And, if you ever find yourself getting nervous, keeping this advice in mind and preparing ahead of time can lead to very successful interactions with college admissions officers.

Try an expert admissions consultant through Signet Education to get in to the college of your dreams.