College Admissions Insider - 2017

Three Ways LinkedIn Provides Students an Edge in the College Admissions Process

By Kristen Moon

The numbers don't lie; more than 60,000 college and university alumni groups are active on LinkedIn, making it a valuable resource for college-bound students. Yet, most high school students I work with do not have a LinkedIn profile. Many believe that LinkedIn is only for job seekers and business professionals. Below I have debunked that myth and highlighted a few ways LinkedIn provides students with an edge in the competitive college admissions process.

# 1: Learn more about your target schools through University Pages

University Pages is a LinkedIn blog which contains a wealth of information. Students can join the conversation and engage with the campus community, admission officers, and alumni. Stay up-to-date on campus news, activities, and events for all your target schools.

Interested in a university in England? Start by searching for schools in London. Then, connect with current students and get their viewpoints on the college. Students can explore the career paths of graduates and connect with alumni in their chosen major.

# 2: Connect with alumni

What's it like to live on campus? Do most students study abroad? Which professor is your favorite? These questions and many others can be answered by an informal alumni interview. LinkedIn hosts thousands of university alumni groups. Students can connect with alumni and ask a variety of questions that will help determine if a university is a good fit. Typically, alumni are more than happy to help potential students.

# 3: Better than a resume

A LinkedIn page is more personal than a resume. Think of it as making your one-page resume come to life and highlighting who you are as an individual. Do you play the violin? Why not post a video of one of your performances? Are you a soccer player? Post a video of your winning goal. Take your time and make your LinkedIn page personal, and highlight your goals, accomplishments, and why a university would be happy to have you as one of their students.

You Have Been Deferred - Now What?

Deferred: the limbo of college admissions. You are not accepted, but you were not rejected either. A deferred applicant was not a strong enough contender to be accepted during early admission, so now they are in the regular admission pool with the masses. So, now what?

Let's start by telling you what not to do:

• Do not call the admissions office and ask “what can I do to strengthen my application?"
• Please, don't have your parents call either! Yikes. Do you really think the admission officers want to speak to all candidates who have been deferred? Nope.
• Also, don't “do nothing and wait." That is not the correct answer either.

The first thing to do when you receive the disappointing news that you have been deferred is to take some time and think. Yes, think long and hard. Think if anything has changed since you first applied early admission to your “dream school". Is this still your top choice? Is another university looking like a better fit for you now? It is important to be honest with yourself at this point. If you are second guessing your initial decision and feel like another university might now be a better fit, then a deferral that allows you escape the binding early decision might actually be a positive. It will open up your options to attend another university, possibly one with a better financial aid package offered.

If you truly feel like the deferred college is still your top choice, then a set of steps must be followed. The first step is to craft a “Betterment Letter".

A Betterment Letter tells the university how you are a better candidate now vs. when you first applied. When you applied for early admission you were deferred because you were not a strong enough candidate. Plain and simple. Now we need to express how you have become “better". This letter should be a one-pager and compelling.

Let's break it down:

• You are still very interested in attending, and this university is still your top choice. If accepted, you will certainly attend. (Don't say this unless you truly mean it.) Be direct and be clear with your message!
• Elaborate on the awesome things you have accomplished since you applied. Discuss the accomplishments or accolades you've received in recent months. Have your grades improved? Are you working on a challenging school project? Did you win the speech and debate tournament? Did you secure a job-shadowing position? Make your candidate profile stronger. Mention something you are currently doing that the admissions staff does not already know about.
• Reiterate why this college is a perfect fit for you, and what you will add to the campus community. This section should be brief. Do not reiterate items you have already mentioned in your personal statement/essay. Be specific!

An ordinary, boring Betterment Letter will not do. It needs to be compelling. When we say compelling, we mean it! It must discuss something new. There is no point in repeating what the admissions office already knows. E-mail the letter to the admissions representative listed for your state or region. Also send a copy via snail mail, but do so promptly; time is of the essence. The letter needs to be sent right away.