The 5 Most Important Connections You Need as a High School Senior & How to Make Them

3. Regional Admissions Representatives

A regional admissions what? This is someone that you are going to definitely want to reach out to. They are the person in charge of your region when it comes to all things admissions. They typically will make high-school visits in your area, attend local college fairs, and sometimes they even are the ones conducting interviews. It is in your best interest to seek out these representatives and introduce yourself.

Katherine Mirani, a sophomore at Northwestern University, shares, “When I visited Johns Hopkins University, the admissions officer said that he always appreciates students who email him directly. He explained that he remembers them and thinks of them when their applications come up. Admissions officers are assigned to read applications by region/state, so if you can figure out which officer will be reading your application at a certain college, you should definitely send them a well-thought out note.”

Robinovitz adds, “During the application process, call or email the representatives with good quality questions about the school. Simply reaching out to this person will help your chance of admission down the road.”

If you are unsure of who your regional admissions representative is, the information is typically located under the undergraduate admissions section of a university’s website. If you can’t find any contact information there, always remember to use your guidance counselor as a resource!

4. Interviewers

Interviews are a great place to network during the college admissions process, if the college offers them. While there is an ongoing debate on whether these interviews actually influence your chances of being accepted, it never hurts to put yourself out there and learn more about the institution.

According to The Princeton Review, “Not all schools grant interviews, and you shouldn’t freak out if your local admissions rep is too busy to interview you. It doesn’t mean you won’t be admitted.” To find out if your school conducts interviews, check out their admissions website. If you can’t find any information online, send a quick email to the admissions office inquiring about an interview. Some schools will ask potential students to travel to their campus for an interview while others will have a local representative meet you close to home (typically over coffee at a close-by Starbucks or Barnes and Noble).

Robinovitz explains, “How you sit, dress, shake hands, and make eye contact sets the tone for the entire interview. Students also should thoroughly research the college beforehand, so that they can easily express their enthusiasm about the university and ask the interviewer insightful questions about the academic experience that the institution offers.” These interviews are a great learning tool as well as an ideal way to show a university representative that you are a great match. When researching, focus primarily on the university’s academics and any recent press the institution has received. Supplement your academic research with some fun facts about sports teams, dining, dorm life, or the surrounding neighborhood. You can never be over-prepared and the more you know, the easier conversation will flow.

Robinovitz’s biggest piece of advice? “Email your resume to your interviewer in advance and bring a copy of it to the interview as well! This is an easy way to guarantee what you will be talking about.”

5. Alumni & Current Undergraduate Students

While these connections most likely won’t increase your chances of getting in, they are a great way to learn more about the school and get a better sense of whether the school is the best fit for you.

Robinovitz suggests talking to recent graduates and current undergraduates to learn about their personal experiences at the university. A great way to get in contact with current students and recent alumni is through your high school’s guidance department. Counselors have endless connections due to the hundreds of kids they advise every year. If they don’t know a current student, they can direct you to someone who might.

Another way to get in contact with students and alumni is to email the university’s admissions office. They are always happy to put prospective students in contact with current undergraduates.

And Don't Forget to Network...

If you plan on networking at large-scale events – college fairs, information sessions, college visits, etc. – set yourself apart from the crowd by leaving a calling card with school representatives. Instead of signing your name like every other prospective student, make your own business cards. According to Robinovitz, this will set you apart from thousands of other students in less than a minute.