Getting attention

Savvy college-seekers know that showing some love to the schools to which you’re applying can help get the attention of admission counselors and win one of those “fat” acceptance packets in late March/early April. The Boston Globe’s Peter Schworm put the spotlight on that dynamic for the newspaper’s Sunday edition.

The story’s angle? In tough economic times, colleges are paying closer attention to applicants who visit the school, call, email or otherwise show their interest in enrolling. Wheaton was highlighted in the story, along with Brandeis, Boston University and Boston College.

Wheaton Dean of Admission Gail Berson told the Globe that the college does notice students who show genuine interest (as opposed to the faux attention of parents), but that the school is careful not to elevate applicants who know how to game the process over first-generation students and others not clued in to the tricks.

“We don’t want to penalize students who don’t know that 14,000 contacts with an admissions officer could tip the balance,” said Gail Berson, dean of admission at Wheaton College in Norton.

This spring, a student whom Berson met at a New York City high school has become a “steady pen pal,” even sending her copies of his latest short stories. His persistence convinced Berson he would attend, and his writing ability convinced her he should be admitted, despite a so-so academic record.

Alex Michel, a senior from Weston, said she knew that Wheaton was her top choice as soon as she visited the campus, and she immediately made her intentions known. She visited campus several times, including an overnight stay with students, and e-mailed admissions officers with questions. In December, she was accepted, and now she chats on Facebook with her eventual classmates.

Source: The Boston Sunday Globe