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Take Action and Land in the “YES” Pile

High school juniors and seniors ask, “Beyond my grades and test scores, can I really ‘up my chances’ in any way to get the acceptance letter?”
Ultimate Coach, Amy Sauber, says, “Yes, there are activities you can do to ensure the greatest chance for an acceptance letter.” Your job is to take an active role in helping that admissions team choose you deliberately. The admissions team creates an immediate pile of possible accepted students which begins with minimum test scores and GPAs and then has the daunting task of separating the “YES” pile and “NO” pile applications into the number of freshman admits, which is a fraction of the first stack of ‘possibles’. So who makes the next cut?
This series will cover the top five things you can do to enhance your “YES” pile chance.
Connect with the college directly by phone and arrange a meeting before visiting the campus. (If you have no intention or ability to visit the campus ahead of time, you can still meet key people over-the-phone and on-line.) You can find the college’s website online and peruse the site, extracting key information, names and phone numbers. Don’t be bashful; if you’re interested in Biology, Theatre, Engineering, or Computer Science, find those departments’ home pages on the college website and dial an administrator, student advisor, or faculty member directly.
Introduce yourself politely and explain that you’re considering that school and department and you would like a close-up look at the curriculum and professors when you visit the school. Do not use the word ‘interview’ when you request a brief, face-to-face meeting and tour of the department. Instead request a personal visit to explore the “fit” for you as a potential student in terms of: courses, classrooms and labs, research, and student/professor interaction. Ask for twenty minutes of someone’s time, and allow the person at the other end of the phone to confirm the best time to meet during your one-day visit to the school. Start the request with, “I’m visiting your college from out-of-town, and I’d like to stop in to your department when I’m on campus to get a close-up look. Might you or a professor be available for a brief, 20-minute meeting to answer some department-related questions and show me your facilities?” Colleges know you are the customer…part of the college’s job is letting you examine the goods – in this case the facility and people you are considering to purchase.
Once you arrange a date and time to meet during that phone call, ask for contact information and address. Next, send a follow-up thank you email confirming the visit including all of your contact information as well. Thank the person for the opportunity for the close-up look at the university.
Once you return home from the college visit be sure to follow up again with a brief thank you note addressed to those you met. Your impressions formed during your visit and the memories you gained will become a part of the essay you write to gain entrance to that university.
Next in the Ultimate Coach blog series you will learn about handling yourself professionally during the college visits and within each contact point with the college.

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