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Do Connections With Admission Officials Help Students?

Admission officials are the end all, be all of getting into college. Does knowing a couple insiders help your students? Our experts weigh in.

Anne Macleod WeeksAnne Macleod Weeks
Upper School Director
The Agnes Irwin School
When working in an independent school, many counselors build personal relationships with admission staffers, but often any advantage that may be had in advocating for a student is centered more in the reputation past graduates from the independent school have built as undergraduates at the specific college. So, the college counselor can say, “Mary is much like Susan was, so I am confident she will be successful.” 

Charlotte M. Klaar, PhDCharlotte M. Klaar, PhD
Klaar College Consulting LLC
In my opinion, the college counselor should be invisible in the process. I develop relationships with admissions officials only for the purpose of getting to know their colleges better and I never use or expect that this relationship will be used to exert influence on the official on behalf of my clients. The only person who can get a student into the school is the student.

Ann HerbenerAnn Herbener
College Counselor
Papillion-La Vista High School
I feel relationships with admission officials are important. When admission officials know me, they understand my recommendation letters and trust my opinion regarding my students.

Suzan ReznickSuzan Reznick
The College Connection
As a counselor, I do not lobby for a college to accept a student. What I can do is to serve as a facilitator if there is information that might not be on a student’s application, but it might help the college to better understand that student. I will, with the client’s permission, convey that information.

Sandra E. CliftonSandra E. Clifton
Educational Consultant for Social & Emotional Learning
Clifton Corner: An Academic Coaching Center
Right now, my focus is on my students/clients, and I very rarely interact with admission officials. As a professional member of IECA, I follow the guidelines of ethical behavior very carefully, and although in days past there was much discussion with admission officers “behind the scenes,” I would hazard to guess that this interaction has changed dramatically.

K. Patricia AviezerK. Patricia Aviezer, MS

Inside Track To College, Inc.
Yes, with one caveat: college counselors don't get students into their colleges of choice—the students get themselves in. Relationships with admission officials can help a counselor stay abreast of the latest changes on campus, like new programs and majors or financial support opportunities. It also enables us to understand the personality of the institution more clearly.

Stuart NachbarStuart Nachbar
In some cases, they have to develop, especially with the public institutions that are most popular and accessible to their students. The counselor should know the application process for these schools and be a trusted resource to the students, parents, and the colleges. A counselor should also be able to help students consider and apply to other schools that have more complex applications (selective colleges, the arts, military service academies). But it is next to impossible for so many counselors to develop relationships with those schools unless the high school has sent many successful students to them in the past.

Get more great advice from people in your field in our Counselors and Consultants—Ask The Experts section.

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