STUDENT BLOG: Building a Relationship With Your Admissions Counselor

Drew’s First Day As A Trojan!

It’s October 22nd, do you know who your admissions counselor is?  I will admit I stole that introduction from the 10 O’Clock news’s “Do you know where your children are?”  Obviously you’re in bed, not studying for tomorrow’s math test or stressing over college applications because you have an admissions counselor to help guide you through the process!

Like I said in my introduction post, I had a “fun time applying to this school thanks to a great admissions counselor” (I’m not going to MLA cite this quote).  Many of my friends were stressed because they only had superficial understandings of what their dream schools wanted, based on numerical statistics, cliché quotes in pamphlets, and vague descriptions on Naviance, but I felt at-ease since I knew holistically what USC wanted in its applicants thanks to one source – Ms. Vivika Demel.

When I began my application, I didn’t know who Ms. Demel was.  I had been in contact with another admissions counselor until he relocated, so I had to find my new counselor on my own.  Luckily, USC has this easy page to help you find your admissions counselor no matter where you are in the world.  Then, I had to initiate contact (mission, start).  I first emailed Ms. Demel on October 23, 2013.  I will admit I was nervous, because this was going to be the first time we’d ever speak and I needed to make a good impression because she was going to ‘determine the rest of my life’ and what if she thought I was annoying or couldn’t spell or she didn’t like my vocabulary or… what if I was thinking too much into things?  She responded the next day, coincidentally visited my school two weeks later, and from then on I felt much more confident in my application.

Your admissions counselor is not only a direct source to the University, but also the first set of eyes on your application.  They’ll go through thousands of applications, so how will they know exactly whom you are?  If you want a simple way to stand out, introduce yourself!  Now, I was lucky that my counselor had already planned a trip to my high school – they don’t visit every school– so in the case that yours doesn’t, send a quick email!  Introduce yourself and ask a question to start a conversation.  Your admissions counselor is a real person with real feelings, so be friendly and polite, but don’t be too burdensome.  Keep in mind, your counselor is not a penpal, simply a resource.  If your counselor does visit your school, stay after the meeting and say hello in person!  It’s always great to have a face to the name, and it’ll show that you are sincerely interested in the school.  Once you’ve submitted your application, thank your counselor once again for their help.  If you really want to make an impression, thank them with a handwritten card (trust me, they’ll remember).  Now, everyone will have a different experience applying to college and being in contact with your counselor will not make or break your admission decision, but ultimately, you’re bound to have a question at some point and when you do, you want your admissions counselor to remember you (for the right reasons), so be polite, grateful, and leave a positive impression so that when they see your application, they’ll think back to that moment when…

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