Passion in college: Should I connect with my regional admission officer to see if they have offerings?

By Maxine Seya

If a student has a specific interest they are passionate about, can they/should they connect with their regional admission officer to see if that college has offerings that allow the students passion to continue to flourish at the college level?

– Jamie

This was one of the questions submitted for the interview with a Northwestern admissions director. Even though it wasn’t selected, it’s a good question that we’ve gathered insight on after interviewing countless admissions insiders, including regional admissions officers.

The answer is yes, you should connect with your regional admissions officer. Of course there’s the benefit of learning from someone who knows the college very well how you can pursue your extracurriculars at a college level. Admissions officers know student life very well and will usually be very happy to put you in touch with current students pursuing the activities you’re passionate about.

But another benefit of connecting with your regional admissions counselor or officer is that it helps your application stand out.

One thing I like to ask my interviewees is “how memorable are the students you meet/have relationships with and how do your prior encounters affect your review of their application?”

Most of the time, admissions officers tell me that having met the student makes their application much more memorable. They have to try harder to remain unbiased because naturally, they have a connection to those students who reached out and initiated rapport.

This is what a Whitman College admissions officer said in a recent interview with SocratesPost about feeling connected to students from his area.

I think it’s pretty natural to have a connection to your area. For example, because I work within Texas, most of the students from those areas are first-gen students, and so I have a real affinity for a lot of those families that I’ve met on the road and students who are not just looking necessarily to even go to Whitman but are looking for access to a college in the first place. They’ve put all of their academic career into just making sure they get to higher education and do what their parents were unable to do.

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Maxine Seya
Maxine Seya is a former investigative journalist, college consultant, and admissions interviewer. She studied at Peking University (Beijing, China) and Université Paul-Valéry (Montpellier, France) and investigated for CNN and Huffington Post before graduating from Northwestern University. She founded SocratesPost to share the human stories behind the admission gates and offer parents clarity as they help their teens with college.