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If you are thinking about applying to a college or program this fall or later and have not yet connected with their faculty or staff, summer may be your time.

One of the best actions you can take to help your chances of being accepted into a program (aside from doing your best in courses, tests and leadership opportunities) is to talk to someone involved with the program. The ideal person would be the director of the program or admissions. The next best choices are staff people who manage the program or admissions and faculty members. One key goal is to talk with people who will give you good advice and may influence admissions decision.

One of the best times to first connect is during the summer. In between vacation time off, planning and getting ready for the next term, many staff and faculty are more relaxed and available to meet with prospective students or program participants. You may have more time to ask one-on-one questions related to your personal experience than you would in a group session provided as a part of a formal admissions process.

This advice also applies to anyone who wants to connect with a potential employer, mentor, etc.

Before you make those connections, please note the following:

  • Some programs are large and have formal admissions processes, including campus tours or open house sessions. Also, some faculty or staff may prefer to keep their summers focused on other stakeholders or activities. The result may be that whoever you contact refers you to their website or a formal session at another time of the year rather than a one-one-one opportunity. If that happens, politely thank them and take their advice. Once you do, you will likely find other opportunities to connect with individual staff and faculty.
  • Some programs operate in the summer or start admissions in the summer. If so, their not so busy time is not the summer. If a potential connection is busy, you may ask if there is a good time for you to follow up.
  • Finally, whenever you connect with college or program folks (or potential employers, mentors, etc.) don’t forget to be prepared and polite. Even in the more casual summer time, any interaction you have with a potential leader or colleague becomes part of their impression of you. (And, yes, just like you, we remember the very good and very bad impressions.)