Last year, right around this time, I was still working in college admissions and remember clearly the phone calls that started pouring in and the visitors that came into our front office. College admissions officers are aware that this is a stressful time for families. Students are anxiously waiting to receive their admissions decisions and parents are nervously awaiting the financial aid packages. There are many questions that you, prospective families, want answered. Admissions representatives realize this but also want you to mind your manners. As school breaks, such as Presidents Day and spring break, loom on the horizon – and you are planning your visits to college campuses – just a small reminder to keep your attitudes in check (students and parents alike!).
While the majority of students and parents are polite and friendly to admissions staff it is the rude and demanding families that are often easiest for admissions counselors to remember. The mother who demanded cappuccino instead of coffee during her visit, the father who was sure the high school sent their student’s transcript but when finds it is missing from the application screams over the phone, or the student who rolls their eyes every time the tour guide describes their experience on campus.
Remember that almost every person that you interact who works for an admissions office has the ability to make some sort of note on your file or account. This doesn’t mean that you need to fake it or shower the admissions office with gifts (which does happen sometimes too!) but remember that being polite can go a long way and being rude can go even further – but not in the direction you probably want. It is not just the admissions representative for your particular region or the admissions director who you need to be nice to. Remember that the student workers, the office coordinator sitting up at the front desk, or even the tour guide all have the ability to walk back to the admissions representative who is making a decision on your application and share their impression of you.