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本文来源于留学啦 2012-11-21 20:55 阅读次 标签
Show Them You Care Want to get into your first choice college? E-mail that admissions officer now. By JEFFREY R. YOUNG For Kaavya Viswanathan, a high-school senior in Hackensack, N.J., applying to college has involved some serious

Show Them You Care

Want to get into your first choice college? E-mail that admissions officer now.

By JEFFREY R. YOUNG

For Kaavya Viswanathan, a high-school senior in Hackensack, N.J., applying to college has involved some serious schmoozing with admissions officials. After narrowing her choices to nine super-competitive colleges, including Harvard and Yale Universities, she began sending personal e-mail messages and calling admissions representatives at each institution to let them know how serious she was about attending their college. Beginning last year, she made sure she sent messages to admissions staff members at all nine colleges at least once a month, and she is on a first-name basis with many of them. With so much competition for spots at top colleges, she says, personal contact "gives you an edge" over students with similarly high test scores and achievements.

"I think a lot of applying to college is about strategy," says Ms. Viswanathan, who scored a near-perfect 1560 on the SAT, has a 4.16 grade-point average, and is editor in chief of a high-school online magazine. "When they read my application, maybe they'll remember me," she says.

Savvy students are learning that the majority of selective colleges favor applicants who show clear signs of interest, such as attending information sessions, visiting the campus, calling or e-mailing admissions officers, or signing in on the college's Web site. Growing Practice

Officials at 56 percent of the colleges that participated in a recent survey said they considered a student's "demonstrated interest" -- a term that has caught on as colleges began tracking applicants' contacts with colleges -- as a factor in admissions decisions. The survey, of 595 colleges, will be released this month by the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

Thirty percent of respondents said demonstrated interest was of "considerable" or "moderate" importance, while 26 percent said it was of "limited" importance in their decisions. Sixteen percent of the surveyed colleges that are highly selective -- those that admit less than half of the students who apply -- said they assign "considerable importance" to demonstrated interest, and admissions officials say the practice is growing.

Colleges that use demonstrated interest routinely defer or reject stellar applicants who do not make overtures beyond filing an application, on the assumption that those students wouldn't have accepted the college's offer anyway.

Some colleges also consider demonstrated interest when deciding which students should get merit scholarships. Students are applying to so many colleges these days, some officials argue, that it is tough to know if applicants view their college as a longstanding dream or a safety school.

"You wouldn't invite people to your wedding who are strangers you found in the phone book," says Jonathan Burdick, dean of admissions and financial aid at the University of Rochester. "You want to invite people who know what's going on. We feel that we're really different from all these other places, and we want to make sure students are paying attention to that."

Some high-school guidance counselors criticize the use of demonstrated interest, saying it is unfair to students who might not know that they need to flirt with colleges, or who cannot afford to visit all the campuses they are interested in. "I think it's unfortunate for the kids because I think it's another burden," says A.J. Aucamp, director of college guidance at Saint Andrew's School, in Boca Raton, Fla.

In October 2002, NACAC passed a resolution asking its admissions-practices committee to consider whether the association should take a formal stand on demonstrated interest, but that review is still under way.

Careful Tracking

Emory University is upfront with applicants about its use of demonstrated interest. Its undergraduate application begins by urging students to make contact with the college: "We carefully note demonstrated interest during the admissions process and expect candidates to have done their homework on us: Have you met us at a college fair, ordered the Emory video visit, attended an information session, or perhaps visited campus? Most importantly, have you clearly and specifically articulated in this application why Emory is a good match for you?"

Emory's admissions officials use a database to record all such contacts by students, a practice common at other colleges as well, says Jean D. Jordan, director of enrollment services. "If you visit, you fill out a form," she says. "If you come to a college fair, you fill out an inquiry card and we track that. If we're at your high school , we track that."

Ms. Jordan says the practice has improved retention and attracted a more-involved student body. "What we've found over the years," she says, "is that students who've really researched us and really know what we're all about are the students who are the happiest and the most involved."

Other college officials say a key reason to track demonstrated interest is the rise in popularity of the Common Application, a standardized form accepted by 241 colleges across the country. Nearly 50 of those colleges recently decided to waive application fees for students who apply online using the Common Application.

That means students can fire Common Applications at colleges "like a machine gun," says Nathan Allen, an independent college counselor and the author, under the name Andrew Allen, of College Admissions Trade Secrets (Writers Club Press, 2001). "The huge danger of the Common Application is you can apply everywhere and not know anything about the places," Mr. Allen says. Some students apply to 20 or more colleges, he says, though the average is closer to five or six.

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