Before you call or email a college…

Imagine you submitted a completed college application that you carefully prepared to make sure it included everything the college had asked for. And then several times a week for the next few months, someone from the college called or emailed you asking questions that you’d already listed on the application, like:

“What is your mailing address?”
“What major would you like to apply under?”
“What activities did you participate in as a junior?”
“Have you attended any other schools in the last four years?”
“What honors or awards have you won?”

After a while, you’d probably feel like saying, “I already told you all of this—just read the application!”

That’s not dissimilar to how colleges feel when a student (or worse, a parent) repeatedly calls or emails the admissions office to ask questions that are clearly answered on the website.

Most admissions officers I’ve met are nice people who genuinely want to be helpful to applicants. They would tell you that they are happy to answer your questions.

But they’d also tell you:

  1. They’re incredibly busy at this time of year.
  2. They always appreciate it when a student has taken the time to read the information they’ve painstakingly laid out on the website, particularly when it comes to the “Admissions” section, which spells out the requirements for a completed application.
  3. They prefer that you not harangue them with daily questions (see item #1).
  4. When a parent inquires, they can’t help but wonder why the student isn’t mature enough to handle it on their own (with the exception of questions that have to do with financial aid).
  5. They appreciate and recognize students who are polite and respectful. Please and thank you go a long way.

Start by carefully reading the directions on the “Admissions” section of the college’s website. If you have a question, take 5-10 minutes and make sure it’s not answered there. Then, if you can’t find the information you’re looking for, the student—not the parent—should feel free to reach out to the admissions office.