College are tracking students as part of admissions process

The recent Wall Street Journal article “Colleges Mine Data on Their Applicants” (WSJ January 26, 2019 by Douglas Belkin) describes colleges tracking of applicants “demonstrated interest” in a school.  The goal of this tracking is to protect  the schools “yield” or number of students who enroll after being accepted.   This became more important with the use of the Common Application when students could easily apply to a larger number of schools but obviously could only attend one school-thereby leaving schools offering acceptances but lower enrollment percentages.

Colleges can track an applicant’s response to an email from the school including but not limited to how long it takes for an applicant to respond after reading the email as well as determining if the applicant sought further information by clicking links to college materials.

Colleges “score”  an applicant’s interest in the school which is part of the process of determining whether to accept the applicant. It has always been important for applicants to establish a relationship with a school -which includes visits to the school, attending information sessions and tours, and emailing.  Applicants should take seriously establishing this relationship since it can make the difference in the admission results. 

This is similar to a potential recruit developing a relationship with a coach so that the coach has a good idea of the level of interest that a potential recruit has in the rowing program.  Coaches want recruits who are genuinely interested in the rowing program rather than those who are just seeking an admission.  Potential recruits should take these contacts seriously since this can make the difference between being recruited and being passed over by a coach.