Admissions Tricks

The ‘hot’ college that everyone in your class wants to go to will be harder to get accepted. Too many applicants from one school can cut down your chances. If there’s a school you want to go to, keep your mouth shut!

Colleges give points
 for geographical diversity (state and rural/urban), being related to an alumni, and ethnicity. Consider schools in various locations and don’t forget schools family members attended.



If you don’t need financial aid—let ’em know. If the school is short on funds or loaded with applicants who need aid, it may help.

Wanna let the colleges know
 you’re really interested? Ask for an interview with the admissions officer and talk to the professors in your desired major. You’ll stand out as an applicant.

A college is more likely 
to accept you if your major is in an ‘under-enrolled’ area. Ask the admissions officer how your choice of major might affect your chances.

Stand out!
 Colleges give extra points for talent and athletic ability. Let ’em know what you can do.

Don’t let your parents do it!
 YOU make the phone calls to the college for information. You may not be as polished but your enthusiasm and interest count more.

Don’t just apply to ‘reach’ schools. Include at least one ‘safety’ school in the bunch. You don’t want to end up with 6 rejections and no place to go.

Market yourself!
 If you do something special—art, photography, music, etc.—send a sample of your work.
Feel like the ‘real’ you can’t be presented in a common application? Submit added information or explanations.
Call every school you’ve applied to and make sure your application has been received and is complete. If anything is missing, get it to them pronto!

Send thank you note 
after interviews, visits or if an admissions officer has been extremely helpful. You’ll get your name in front of them again.

Didn’t make the ‘cut’ at the college of your choice? Find out what community college that school uses as its ‘feeder’ school. Do your 2 year core curriculum there and you’ll be able to transfer. It’s a great way to save money, too.


Apply Early Decision 
only to your first choice school—applying ED is like adding 100 points to your SAT score.

If you know alumni 
from the college—a relative, employer, volunteer supervisor—ask them to write a letter of recommendation for you.

Excerpts from Countdown to College: 21 ‘To Do’ Lists for High School by Valerie Pierce

Reprint by permission from the author.