For most students, planning for college is one of the most stressful parts of the transition from high school to adulthood. There are so many uncertainties and big decisions involved that the process can be overwhelming for some. Luckily, there are some clues to watch for that you’ve caught the attention of someone on the college admission board!
Here are 8 obvious signs that a college is interested in you:
- You receive an application fee waiver.
- Someone is sent to scout out your extracurriculars.
- You’re sent information about scholarships.
- A school representative initiated contact with you.
- You are invited to a prospectus visit.
- College seniors in your potential major reach out.
- You receive official offers for an individual visit.
- The college gives you early scholarship offers.
Any one of these signs is a great indicator that you will be accepted to the college if you send in a complete application. The more of these signs you see from a college, the more likely it is that you will be cheering from the stands at their next home football game!
1. You Receive an Application Fee Waiver
One of the earliest signs of a college’s interest in you is a waiver of the application fee for their admissions. This means that you’ve captured someone’s interest enough that a hurdle to your acceptance was completely removed!
College applications aren’t cheap, especially if you’re applying to several different schools. You can easily spend over $1000 on the application fees alone, depending on where you’re applying.
If a college has waived this fee for you, this can mean that they want to make their school a more attractive option for you. This is especially true for schools with a high application but low acceptance rates. The college makes a lot of money from those applications, so it isn’t a small thing to have a college waive this fee for you.
Even if a school hasn’t sent you an application waiver, this doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be interested in doing so! According to a research brief from the Institute of Education Science, students who apply to more colleges tend to end up at better colleges (source).
This indicates that those with a financial barrier to applying to multiple schools would likely end up at a better-rated college if this barrier were removed. Colleges love students who show initiative, so be your own advocate and ask for waivers!
2. Someone Is Sent To Scout Out Your Extracurriculars
We have all seen a million coming-of-age high school sports movies where the protagonist has a scout in the spectators of the biggest game of the year. Whether the movie ends with a college acceptance or not, this is an excellent sign of a college’s interest in real life!
While this idea tends to be associated with sports, nothing is stopping a college recruiter from coming to other sorts of events. Colleges with great music programs are also known to send out scouts to performances by high school students, as well as other activities.
This is something that’s more likely to happen at larger high schools but don’t let that dissuade you from working at the activities you care about deeply. With the rise of social media being used in college recruiting, it’s so much easier to get noticed by joining groups, attending info sessions for colleges, and just putting yourself out there (source)!
3. You’re Sent Information About Scholarships
A huge sign of a college’s interest is if they make the scholarship opportunities available to you known. If you have high academic achievements, athletic merit, or other means of receiving scholarships, the fact that you have been sent this information means that someone in admissions noticed!
Depending on the college and particular scholarship, take note of how to apply for any scholarships for which you receive information. Lots will be applied for automatically when you apply for admission into the school, but there are some scholarships that have separate applications.
For example, scholarships for music programs will typically have an audition that you’d need to schedule. Or there could be additional essays that you would need to write to be eligible for scholarships for special circumstances.
If you receive information about scholarships but aren’t sure about the process, it’s always a good idea to contact the admissions at the college and get your questions answered. College is expensive, so you want to get as much of that tuition covered as possible.
Additionally, if you receive information about scholarships, be sure to take note of the duration of that award. Some scholarships cover all four years, while others only cover the first semester.
Any size scholarship is a huge achievement, but it’s still beneficial to apply for more so that you can get your degree with as little debt as possible (source).
4. A School Representative Initiated Contact With You
Whenever someone from a college initiates contact with you first, this is an exciting indicator that the school is interested in you.
Whether it’s for athletics, test scores, or services to the community you attend school in, you have done something to inspire the college to spend time and resources making sure that they’re on your radar.
If this is something that happens to you, the best thing is to enthusiastically engage with the representative and ask questions to show your interest. Colleges thrive on school spirit, so the interest you show in these early days can make a huge difference!
If this contact is over email, it’s very important to think about email etiquette. Be sure to include greetings and sign-offs and a professional tone throughout. Additionally, grammar and spellcheck are your best friends before sending any emails!
Do take note of the email or letters you receive. While it isn’t a write-off to receive more generic contact from a college, this doesn’t indicate the same level of interest as personalized emails or letters. A personalized contact initiation will include your name and will probably invite a one-to-one conversation with someone about the college, such as a department chair or admission committee member.
However, if you do receive generic emails or letters from a college, this can still mean that you fall within their parameters for acceptance, so it is still a good sign!
5. You Are Invited to a Prospectus Visit
Prospectus visits are all-expenses-paid visits to the college so that you can meet professors and see the daily life at that college. These trips are incredible experiences and allow for a great look into what your college experience would look like at a particular school.
As well as other prospective high school students, you’re usually joined with some current students who are enrolled at the college. You might sit in classes and attend discussion sections with the current students. These visits can be a really fun time as well as a huge learning experience!
Not all colleges do these types of visits, so don’t fret if this is something you haven’t heard about. If you’re applying to graduate school, these visits are very common but not as much with undergraduate applicants.
Day visits or smaller scale invitations are common in undergrad, so even an invitation to this type of visit can be something about which you should be excited. These are great events to ask questions that you’ve felt weren’t suited for email.
Another benefit to attending even a day visit is meeting others who are already attending the school. The groups are sometimes assigned current students to accompany you, but it’s not a bad idea to try and talk to someone outside of the assigned students. Often, you might learn something that wouldn’t have been told to you otherwise.
For example, if the college has a high attrition rate or lackluster support services, this might be something that the current student assigned to you might not want to mention — they’re there to try and convince you to attend after all!
6. College Seniors in Your Potential Major Reach Out
It’s a big practice of colleges to have some of their highest achieving seniors connect with prospective students. This gives you a point of contact for any questions you have about the college experience there. However, the senior student’s department may give insight to an admissions committee on your feelings on attending their college.
Thus, it can be savvy to ask a lot of questions and take advantage of this resource.
This particular sign is much more likely to happen if you have already made some point of contact with the college since this would provide them with your contact info. Making yourself known to the college, whether in person or online, can open up so many doors for you that would’ve otherwise stayed unopened!
In short, if you’ve shown interest and were contacted by some of the best of the best, this can mean that the college thinks you have the potential to be a part of that best.
It’s totally possible that you could find yourself reaching out to potential students in the name of your college in three to four years, and the college sees that in you!
7. You Receive Official Offers for an Individual Visit
While an invitation to a group prospectus visit is a very promising sign, an even stronger sign is if the school brings you and your guardians to visit individually.
While a lot of the same information might be available in a group visit, an individual visit indicates that the college is actually marketing itself to you instead of the reverse. This type of visit is prevalent with graduate school admissions but also occurs for undergraduates, just less frequently.
In an individual visit, the hope is that you and your guardians will meet all of the relevant faculty at the college and have any questions answered. The faculty are expected to convince you that by choosing to attend their college, you’ll have a better education and thus future than if you were to go elsewhere.
This is the closest thing there is to a sure bet on being accepted into a college short of an acceptance letter. If this is your experience with planning for college, don’t be afraid to talk to multiple schools and give counter-offers if applicable!
8. The College Gives You Early Scholarship Offers
Probably the biggest and most obvious sign that a college is interested in you is if you receive an offer for scholarships if you were to apply.
These kinds of offers are rare and are subject to some complicated rules. However, it can happen. These offers are called “early recruiting” and are most typical for athletes. Depending on the type of sport you play, the laws regarding when it’s legal to start recruiting vary.
If you’re not an athlete, there are still tons of scholarships available to you. Most will be awarded after application, so be sure to follow the advice in step number one and get as many application fee waivers as possible. The more schools you apply to, the higher your chances are of getting into a great school with a scholarship!
As a parting note on early recruitment, if you’ve been verbally promised a scholarship by a coach at a college, this is something about which you should be excited! However, be aware that verbal agreements of this kind aren’t legally binding, so there’s always a chance this could fall through. In other words, be sure to apply to other schools, just in case!
Remember, nothing is ever a sure thing until there’s some type of written documentation in your hand! This goes for acceptance letters, scholarship offers, and any other “agreements” that you have with the school, the coaches, or the recruiting officers.
For that reason, it’s always important to apply, Apply, APPLY! Don’t stop applying until you have written correspondence telling you you’ve been accepted and have money waiting for you when you get there (source).