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Articles / Applying to College / Should You Tell Colleges About Post-Application Accomplishments?

Nov. 15, 2019

Should You Tell Colleges About Post-Application Accomplishments?

Should You Tell Colleges About Post-Application Accomplishments?

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I was just elected president of my school's engineering club and I won first place in a marketing competition. Should I email my colleges and tell them about this while they're reviewing my applications?


The short version is this: Sure go ahead. Since you've got a two-for-the-price-of-one situation here, it's fine to write a brief email to your colleges to update them on both of your new achievements.

BUT ... the longer version is this: Depending on where you're applying and what other accomplishments are on your application already, these new ones may not move the needle. If you're applying to the most competitive colleges, then landing the presidency of your school engineering club will be viewed as worthwhile but won't affect your admission verdicts. At somewhat less selective colleges, however, it will carry a bit more clout, especially if you're aiming for a STEM major. Similarly, only a big-deal marketing competition win is worth reporting to the hyper-selective schools.

Since "The Dean" can't view these recent accolades in the context of where you hope to be accepted and what you've already reported (e.g., other leadership roles and awards), you should determine for yourself if this good news is also going to be regarded by your colleges as big news and then decide to notify colleges ... or not ... accordingly.

Finally, are you expecting any college verdicts before your first semester ends? If not, then hold off until the semester is over and then you can send all of your colleges a short update letter that covers your major accomplishments since you first applied in the fall. You'll find a sample update letter here.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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