In today’s episode of “College Admissions Real Talk”, Dr. Legatt talks about relationships in college admissions.

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VO: Welcome to College Admissions Real Talk with Dr. Aviva Legatt, a podcast for students seeking to get admitted to top-tier colleges. Each episode will feature an important tip for your college admission success, delivered with candor and love. If you’ve ever wanted to take a peek inside the mind of a college admissions officer, this is your chance. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222-5762. So, what’s your dream school? 


AL: Welcome to College Admissions Real Talk. This is Dr. Aviva Legatt, founder and Elite Admissions Expert at Ivy Insight. Today, we’re going to be discussing why relationships are the secret weapon of college admissions. Have you ever heard the phrase “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”? While people would love to believe that college admissions is a meritocracy, it’s an extremely false belief. College admissions is not fair. No one gets in purely on their merits and no one is as meritorious as they think because merit itself is a subjective measure. In my experience working on an admissions committee, there is no secret formula for being the best candidate. But all things equal many of the candidates who get accepted have developed some kind of relationship before they apply. Why are relationships the secret weapon? One reason: when you have a relationship with the college, your admissions candidacy gets a new dimension. It’s the dimension of connection. It changes you from a two-dimensional candidate comprised of grades tests essays and activities to someone worth knowing. Think about it. All things equal. If you are in a position to choose someone to join your team, maybe it’s a sports team a debate team or heck maybe even your friend group, Who would you choose? Would you choose someone who you’re somewhat familiar with or would you choose someone who you don’t know at all? Be honest. You would choose the person who you’re familiar with because you know what you’re getting and you can guess if that person would fit with your group. You know this because you have experience with this person already. This phenomenon of gravitating toward people we know is what psychologists call the familiarity bias, but most students fail to pull the lever of relationships even though they can really help. They don’t realize that they are just a few degrees of separation between themselves and the admissions officers and leveraging this fact can help you get a distinct advantage over other candidates. Here are some basic ways you can start connecting with the college and leverage the secret weapon of relationships. 1. Talk with your high school counselor about what colleges are coming to your high school to recruit this year. This knowledge will help you understand what colleges already have a relationship with your high school and your counselor may even be able to give you advice on how to approach your regional admissions officer. Please remember that relationships apply not just to you and the college but also between high school and the college. The relationship that your high school has with your college is a relationship to notice and potentially leverage. 2. Whether or not your school has connections with the colleges, you yourself can reach out to college representatives on your own. This might be through a campus or virtual tour summer program or through good old-fashioned email. By making a small ask of 10 minutes of a stranger’s time, and following through to have a conversation, you will be in a position to get invaluable information you can use for your application. And you wouldn’t have this information without this conversation because remember, admissions info session is tailored to a large group. This conversation is going to be tailored to you. If the college representative is really impressed with you, they might even be willing to write you a letter of recommendation. 3. Some of the best resources for relationship building are the current students who attend the college. I suggest meeting two to three students for virtual coffee to learn about their experience. You also want to share about your goals for college and gather information about the specific ways in which the college might fit you With these three strategies, you can start to develop a relationship with the college. Whether or not you ultimately get someone to formally endorse your application for admission, these relationships and connections will be invaluable to helping you figure out how you fit at your dream colleges. You can use this knowledge to refine your college dreams and to share about your love of a college and a persuasive way. You’re going to have to talk about why the college fits you and why you’d be a great fit in your essays as well as in your interviews. So start connecting and be on your way to having a stronger college application.


VO: College Admissions Real Talk is hosted by Aviva Legatt, edited by Stephanie Carlin, and produced by Incontrera Consulting. I’m Caroline Stokes and this has been your daily boost of college admissions insight. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222- 5762. For more information on Dr. Legatt and Ivy Insight visit www.ivyinsight.com. And you can pick up Dr. Legatt’s book, “Get Real and Get In”, at major retail outlets across the world. Insight out.