Connecting with College Reps


The college admission representatives assigned to SI, especially private universities and colleges, are the key people to connect with.  They are the evaluators of all students' applications from the San Francisco area.  How you conduct yourself and approach them is key in the application process.  Below are tips on what to do and what not to do as communicated to SI from the college representatives from the University of Chicago and Williamette University.

Get on the colleges' mailing list

Register early with colleges you are interested in.  Illustrate to the campuses your interest in them by filling out post cards, get on their mailing list through their website or request materials via Family Connection through the college search tool.

Do your homework

Before communicating with college representatives  - make sure you have read their brochures or check out their websites thoroughly.  This will demonstrate you are really interested in the campus.  NEVER ASK A QUESTION THAT IS ON THEIR WEBSITE. Asking questions like, "Do you offer...." demonstrates a student is not familiar with the campus and may not be a best fit for the campus. 

Good sites to view to aid in this process: 
Financial aid
Department of your major
Career Center

Be real

Interaction with college representatives does help the application process.  However, it is imperative for a student to be authentic when communicating with college representatives.  Focus on developing the relationship over time.

Be personable

Mail a thank you card to the representative after they take time in their busy schedule to assist you.  Make your outreach meaningful by having a thoughtful and engaging conversation.  This may help prepare you for an upcoming interview.  College presentatives remember the students who are personal.

Steps to connecting with a college representative

Research the campus on the web and find out who is the college representative for SI.

Connect with a local alum so you can inquire further about the campus.  The undergraduate admissions office will have contact information of local alums in the area. 

Inquire early to set up an interview with the college representative or local alum.  Some campuses fill up spots fast when they came in the area like USC.

What can hurt you - Part I

Do not ask obvious questions or awkward questions.

What can hurt you - Part II

Be careful not to use the incorrect name of the college representative whether in email or in person.

What can hurt you - Part III

Providing too much information can hurt when you present yourself - giving a representative a copy of your resume is not necessary since you are only making a connection with the representative.

What can hurt you - Part IV

Your actions and behavior are critical. Do not be pushy, inconsiderate, ungracious, etc...

What can hurt you - Part V

Parents should NOT interact with the college representative.  The student is the applicant.  


What can hurt you - Part VI

Be mindful of how you will appear to an adult. If you are meeting with the representative in person, dress appropriately. If you are communicating via email or phone, use appropriate language.

Key opportunities to connect

Take advantage of high school visits (these are listed on Family Connection web page and SI's Counseling Department Twitter Account), college fairs, traveling info sessions, multi school programs, College Night and Case Study presentations.

When you connect with a rep...

Focus on the connection to learn more about how to prepare your college application.  Remember you have about 30 seconds to 5 minutes when connecting with representatives. Speaking with them via email, high school visits or at info sessions are better times to have a short conversation with them. College fairs provide the opportunity to introduce yourself rather to representatives.   

It is never TOO early to outreach to the admission representative. 

When you visit a college campus..

Determine if the campus is in session or if your representative can meet you for an appointment. Prepare well thought out questions ahead of time.  

Campuses take into consideration if local students do not visit their campus.

When you visit a campus:
-Meet individually with faculty members if possible
-See if a campus will do an overnight
-Have an interview on campus, if possible
-Visit a residential hall (may be separate from campus)
-Eat at a dining hall
-Sit in a class
-Shadow a current student

If you cannot visit the campus....

Email the reprepresentative and find out if it is possible to call him/her, skype, connect with a student in your intended major or program. Some private campuses keep track of visits to their campus. Making connections if you cannot visit the campus is helpful.

Know the peaks and valleys of an admisison representative schedule

December and February  are great times to vist campuses.

March and April tend to be the busiest times for college representatives. Arranging a time to vist campuses and make a time to have a personal connection, or meeting, with campus representatives are more difficult during these months..

When you send an email question to a college representative...

List all your questions in one email versus seven emails for each question.  

It is okay to email department faculty members.

Tips on emails

When sending an email:
-Contact the right person
-Keep your questions short and to the point
-Send an email to ONLY one person 
-Regional representatives are the best individuals to email
-If sending documents, college representatives prefer electronic submissions.

Tips on phone communication

Begin with the main admisison phone number. Schedule a time to call a representative if you have a pressing matter.  Pick and choose who to actually connect with and be clear on the reason for the phone communication.

Tips on snail mail

Hand written thank you cards sent through the postal service are appreciated, but sending documents should be sent electronically (unless requested through via snail mail).

Utilize social media hubs

College campuses across the nation track students who are on their Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, blogs and Collegeweeklive chats. Take advantage of these media devices and do not only use College Confidential to find out information about a college campus.  

Tips at the fair

Do not give representatives documents while they are on the road at college fairs.

Do not ask college representatives if they can do an interview at a fair.  

Recommended books

College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step Advice by 50 Deans of Admissions
By Mamlet, former dean of Stanford, Swarthmore, Sarah Lawrence
ISBN 9780307590329
Product Details

Don't Stalk the Admissions Officer: How to Survive the College Admissions Process without Losing Your Mind [Paperback] by Risa Lewak (Author) (2010) 

How to survive the college admissions process without losing your mind.
By: Risa Lewak
ISBN 9781580080606