You’d like your prospective college to be your “friend” as you progress through the admissions process, and, according to Dale Carnegie, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
Let’s say that you’re really, really attracted to somebody, maintain eye contact and pay attention to his/her every word, facial expression, and gesture when you’re together, can’t wait to be with him/her again, and almost desperately hope that he/she feels the same way about you…
…so what are the chances that you wouldn’t even listen to a message he/she left in your voicemail? And if the roles were reversed so that you could tell if he/she had listened to your message, how would you feel if you discovered that he/she hadn’t even bothered?
Don’t for a moment think that the long-term relationship you’re hoping to have with college you want to attend is all that different, because it isn’t. Many, if not most or all, of the schools to which students showed enough interest to provide them with their email address can tell which of those students did or didn’t open emails sent by those schools, and, according to a recent newsweek.com post titled Ignoring Emails From Colleges Could Hurt Students' Chances at Being Accepted, Admissions Experts Say,
Along with seeking students with the potential to change their communities, country and even the world, schools want students that want them [emphasis added]. So much so that experts say failing to open emails from prospective schools can impact whether a student finds a large or small envelope containing the college's decision in the mailbox [emphasis added].
Colleges want to make sure that they’re offering admission to students who want to attend because those are the students who are likely to enroll if offered admission. Otherwise, they’ve wasted time and money. And colleges go to great lengths to determine exactly how much students want to attend by measuring demonstrated interest (DI). One of the ways they do that is via data-mining: A Wall Street Journal article that examined college data mining used Seton Hall University in New Jersey as an example and reported that Seton scores applicants’ DI on a scale from one to 100 using roughly – and what we consider to be a staggering – 80 different variables!
In addition to feedback that lets them know if their emails to students have been opened, variables used by colleges in measuring DI include embedding links on their website that capture what a student visitor accessed, how long that student stayed on the site, and from where it was being accessed. They can also log phone calls, text messages, emails, letters, visits to the school’s table during colleges fairs, on- and off-campus interviews, campus information sessions and tours, and overnight visits. The interactions mentioned above can be considered “touch points” to which schools may give varying “weights” that are aggregated for a numerical DI total used to compare applicants.
The point is that students should promptly open – and respond to, if appropriate – every email from every college that they’re attempting to romance into granting them admission – and they shouldn’t forget to check their spam folder, either.