In today’s episode of “College Admissions Real Talk”, Dr. Legatt shares how to leverage relationships in college applications.

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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 are going to be discussing how to leverage relationships when applying to your dream schools. 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 a 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 quote, “best candidate”. But all things equal, many of the candidates who get accepted to the university have developed some kind of relationship before they apply. Here’s how to leverage relationships when applying to your dream schools. First, consider your top choice colleges, places where you want to do further outreach with key representatives. Remember, it’s not worth it to build relationships if you’re not truly interested in the college. It would be a waste of your time and the other person’s time as well. Once you’ve narrowed it down to just a few places where you’re really interested you wanna do the following:

1. Identify opportunities to connect with college representatives. You might find that you can connect with college Representatives fairly easily on college tours, through participating in some programs or even by talking with alumni and students in your community. You can find alumni through LinkedIn as well as potentially through the college. Some colleges are willing to put you in touch with the alumni. Some are not, so LinkedIn is always a great resource. In addition college sometimes list their local alumni networks and contact information and you can contact an alum there.

2. Set up meetings online or in person with administrators at the college. So, what’s a college administrator? This is somebody who works at the college in a function, whether it’s to help with cultural programs, religious programs, residential programs and so on. And it might sound scary, because the person is working at the college but it doesn’t have to be. Let’s say, for example, you want to explore of schools music program and ask a question about it. You might send an email that says something like “Hello, I’m really interested in the music department at your school. My experience is”–and then you say your experience– I think I want to pursue conducting as a career. I would love to know what classes might prepare me for that track. Would you have 10 minutes for a phone call to discuss?” The email does a few things: 1. It shows you as a friendly person. 2. It shows your relevant interest and experience in the subject you’re interested in. You didn’t pick this off yesterday, right? 3. It asks a specific question so that the person knows what you’re going to talk about on the call and knows that it’s not going to be a complete waste of their time. If you take this approach phone calls or even a zoom call would be great. Don’t underestimate the relationship building currency that you can get even over the phone or over the video chat.

3. When you make an in-person connection work it for all it’s worth. So let’s say you attend an info session where you meet an admissions counselor. When you get home don’t wait. Send a quick follow up email reminding the person of your meeting, thanking the person for their time, and opening the door for you to reach out in the future. If you’re planning on touring the college and want to connect with a particular professor, send an email ahead of time to let them know you’ll be visiting their class. You can say that you want to major in their subject and that you want to say a quick “hello” after class. And hopefully they’ll say yes, and even if they don’t respond still, go up to them after the class if you can. These small steps cost you nothing but a few extra minutes yet if you use them, you will stand out miles ahead of your competition. The more you connect with people from your chosen college, the more three dimensional, your application becomes. Don’t settle for being another faceless applicant in the sea of thousands. Go for personal touches where you can. Be creative, be bold, be polite. You’ll be surprised at what doors open for you.

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.