Communicating with schools pre-secondary (should you do it)?

XyZ1000

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    Hi, everyone. I have seen comments about networking with schools, admissions committees, and current students during the interview process, but am confused about what is appropriate and how we can go about building these relationships. I recently finalized my school list, so I did not know what schools I was interested in earlier in the year when seminars were going on and did not get a chance to attend seminars about many OOS schools that I am now interested in. Should I reach out to the schools to make them aware of my interest/build connections even before getting secondaries/interview offers? If so, what is appropriate to say? Thank you all for your input.
     

    gonnif

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      Hi, everyone. I have seen comments about networking with schools, admissions committees, and current students during the interview process, but am confused about what is appropriate and how we can go about building these relationships. I recently finalized my school list, so I did not know what schools I was interested in earlier in the year when seminars were going on and did not get a chance to attend seminars about many OOS schools that I am now interested in. Should I reach out to the schools to make them aware of my interest/build connections even before getting secondaries/interview offers? If so, what is appropriate to say? Thank you all for your input.
      No, once you have applied now it just appears you are a brown noser. It wont help and can hurts. Also the belief in pre-application networking is mostly a myth. Seeking out information on the school from these sources is good to utilize in where and how to apply but the belief that these actual contacts or connection has any influence on admissions decisions in reality is all but nonexistent.
       
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      XyZ1000

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        No, once you have applied now it just appears you are a brown noser. It wont help and can hurts. Also the belief in pre-application networking is mostly a myth. Seeking out information on the school from these sources is good to utilize in where and how to apply but the belief that these actual contacts or connection has any influence on admissions decisions in reality is all but nonexistent.

        Thank you so much for letting me know, I thought I had been completely uninformed and this was something we were supposed to do.
         
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        Mr.Smile12

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          I'll slightly differ with the above opinion. Pre-application networking is helpful, but it won't carry any additional weight for you in the application process. Admissions recruiters do value meaningful networking relationships, and some may have some insights on how decisions have been made in the past. In general, most of us are on the same team and we want to help you succeed, even if it winds up not being with our school.

          But I will say the networking definitely helps to tease out the recruiting pitches from "reality". We know that the words of current students and recent graduates will be more valued than our opinions. You also need to know what the support structures are once you enter professional school and beyond. It always surprises me how little premeds know about these networks since they are vital to continued professional growth.

          Yes, act professionally. Don't brown-nose, and respect the process. Are you supposed to do this? Well, I will say the interaction helps me get an idea of what students are looking for from us schools, and it helps us give you better information.
           
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          XyZ1000

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            I'll slightly differ with the above opinion. Pre-application networking is helpful, but it won't carry any additional weight for you in the application process. Admissions recruiters do value meaningful networking relationships, and some may have some insights on how decisions have been made in the past. In general, most of us are on the same team and we want to help you succeed, even if it winds up not being with our school.

            But I will say the networking definitely helps to tease out the recruiting pitches from "reality". We know that the words of current students and recent graduates will be more valued than our opinions. You also need to know what the support structures are once you enter professional school and beyond. It always surprises me how little premeds know about these networks since they are vital to continued professional growth.

            Yes, act professionally. Don't brown-nose, and respect the process. Are you supposed to do this? Well, I will say the interaction helps me get an idea of what students are looking for from us schools, and it helps us give you better information.

            Thank you for your advice.
             

            gonnif

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              I'll slightly differ with the above opinion. Pre-application networking is helpful, but it won't carry any additional weight for you in the application process. Admissions recruiters do value meaningful networking relationships, and some may have some insights on how decisions have been made in the past. In general, most of us are on the same team and we want to help you succeed, even if it winds up not being with our school.

              But I will say the networking definitely helps to tease out the recruiting pitches from "reality". We know that the words of current students and recent graduates will be more valued than our opinions. You also need to know what the support structures are once you enter professional school and beyond. It always surprises me how little premeds know about these networks since they are vital to continued professional growth.

              Yes, act professionally. Don't brown-nose, and respect the process. Are you supposed to do this? Well, I will say the interaction helps me get an idea of what students are looking for from us schools, and it helps us give you better information.

              Sorry for being nit-picky but isnt that what I said?
              No, once you have applied now it just appears you are a brown noser. It wont help and can hurts. Also the belief in pre-application networking is mostly a myth. Seeking out information on the school from these sources is good to utilize in where and how to apply but the belief that these actual contacts or connection has any influence on admissions decisions in reality is all but nonexistent.
               

              EdgeTrimmer

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                @gonnif and @Mr.Smile12, How about responding to emails from admissions? For example, my son received an email from admissions dean from one of the schools (T20) he is planning to apply, congratulating him for his high MCAT score and encouraging him to apply. We ignored such emails during UG admissions, but should he do same this time or reply back (with some questions)?
                 
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                Grapesurgery

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                  @gonnif and @Mr.Smile12, How about responding to emails from admissions? For example, my son received an email from admissions dean from one of the schools (T20) he is planning to apply, congratulating him for his high MCAT score and encouraging him to apply. We ignored such emails during UG admissions, but should he do same this time or reply back (with some questions)?
                  These types of communications aren’t uncommon. I received several last cycle. Some schools have even sent me secondary fee wavers citing my MCAT score to encourage me to apply, but this was only 2 (UChicago and northwestern). From what I recall these efforts by schools are typically seen as strategic methods to: 1. Get more applications in the door. 2. Get more secondary money. I don’t know the contents of the letter your kid has received but I would not be surprised if it was generic and sent to multiple applicants.
                  If you do have specific questions, however, for the school by all means ask the admissions team but I would infer it wouldn’t give you any weight in the final admissions decision.
                   
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                  EdgeTrimmer

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                    These types of communications aren’t uncommon. I received several last cycle. Some schools have even sent me secondary fee wavers citing my MCAT score to encourage me to apply, but this was only 2 (UChicago and northwestern). From what I recall these efforts by schools are typically seen as strategic methods to: 1. Get more applications in the door. 2. Get more secondary money. I don’t know the contents of the letter your kid has received but I would not be surprised if it was generic and sent to multiple applicants.
                    If you do have specific questions, however, for the school by all means ask the admissions team but I would infer it wouldn’t give you any weight in the final admissions decision.
                    I am not expecting any weightage and I am aware it's common practice. I am sure that they sent it to students above certain MCAT score. My question is since it's addressed to him, shall he respond back?
                     

                    Mr.Smile12

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                      I would if he were really interested in attending the school. The beneficent reason is that the dean/director is encouraging your child. The jaded, maleficient reason is that the dean/director wants the supplemental fee. If anything, I find no reason not to at least send a thank-you note back. (We like knowing people read our emails, even if they are bulk-generated.)
                       

                      EdgeTrimmer

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                        I would if he were really interested in attending the school. The beneficent reason is that the dean/director is encouraging your child. The jaded, maleficient reason is that the dean/director wants the supplemental fee. If anything, I find no reason not to at least send a thank-you note back. (We like knowing people read our emails, even if they are bulk-generated.)
                        Thank you. Yes, he is definitely interested in the school and planning to apply anyway.
                         
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