School Communication: Best Questions to Ask. Admissions by Schools.  

School Communication: Best Questions to Ask

 “To be or not to be: that is the question”

I mean “to contact the Admissions Officers, or not?”. To answer this question properly, let’s start at the very beginning.

So, you have decided to go for a Master’s degree. After months of searching for the appropriate school, you finally have a list of schools to which you will apply. Many prospective students read only the information given on the program’s page; they do not “dig deeper”.

A minority of applicants check the FAQ section or download a brochure for additional information. Even fewer applicants contact program alumni or communicate with the Admissions Office.

You might wonder, “why do I need to bother busy Admissions Officers with my questions?“ or “is it appropriate to contact Admissions counselors during the application process?“. Ask this question to any school representative and you will get the same firm answer: “If you have any questions regarding program, application process, or school, you should definitely contact the representative.“

You should, however, bear in mind that contacting the Admissions Office is appropriate only when you have studied all the information available but still have not found the answer to your question.

Study the program’s official webpage

Start by diligently reading through the program’s webpage. Check all the sections, and pay special attention to the curriculum and electives: learn what courses will make up the core of your program and what else you can choose additionally. Take a look at the class profile – this will give you information on the average student’s portrait. Study “Admissions” to ensure that you are eligible to apply, and create a checklist of what you have and what you still need to prepare. Examine information regarding the program’s graduates: what their employment rates are, in what fields they are usually employed, and what enterprises hire them. Read the testimonies of recent alumni.

After analyzing the obvious information, dig deeper: download the brochure of the program. This usually contains more detailed information about the program itself, the study process, and the support offered for graduates-to-be. As a rule, brochures contain some important information that is not presented on the website. The reason is that the schools want you to do some research about the program; this demonstrates the level of your interest. The more you know about the program, the more thoroughly you did your homework.

Do not forget to check the FAQ. This section can contain some practical information about how to write an essay, how to fill in the application form, what particularities are entailed for international students, how the applications are evaluated if you are a reapplicant, what you can do if you are placed on a wait-list, etc.

Collect your thoughts

Once you have attentively studied all the information available, do you still have questions left unanswered? If so, you now have a good reason to contact the Admissions Office. If not, then think carefully: are you sure you have a comprehensive understanding of every possible aspect of the program? Most likely, there will still be something you would like clarification on.

If you have a lot of questions, do not ask all of them in one turn. Proceed step by step, initially leading communication with the representative. If you send the Admissions Officers a list of 20 questions, first of all, they will not give you the answer for each question. Secondly, they will likely just ask you to check the program’s website once again.

What are the right questions to AdComs?

You might begin by asking Admissions Officers if the chosen program is suitable for you, enclosing your CV and a transcript (if a school indicates these options on its Admissions page). Ask if the Admissions Office can do a pre-assessment of your candidacy. In this case, they might give you some invaluable information on how to brighten your application; you might have some time to improve your candidacy before the submission deadline.

Register as an applicant at the earliest possible time and study the application process. In the majority of cases, students who are applying for the first time will have questions regarding the form. If you are not sure how to fill in the information, seek clarification from the Admissions Officers. You might also ask them to give you advice about writing your personal statement; they may give you an idea of what should be mentioned and what would be better to exclude.

You might ask about post-graduation prospects. How strong is the support the school provides for graduates, and do they have links with companies that hire graduates? Inquire about financial aid, too, including scholarships and other awards. How many students receive different types of assistance? If you cannot receive any merit awards, you might be eligible for some other scholarships – athletic scholarships, for example. You might be also qualified for fellowships.

Ask about anything that is unclear for you. Schools like to hear that you love them. However, do not overwhelm Admissions Officers with insignificant questions. You are clarifying details that cannot be found anywhere, not trying to make your name known to the Admissions Committee. You create your image when contact them, and asking irrelevant questions can cast you in a negative light.

Email vs. phone call vs. in-person meeting with Admissions Officer

This is totally up to you. If you live nearby and have the time and the opportunity, then it is probably better for you to meet an Admissions representative in person. First of all, the fact that you made time to visit the campus and talk in person will be advantageous, since the majority of students cannot do that. Second, communicating in person makes a more memorable impression. Third, while visiting campus, you get the chance to see where you would study.

If you decide to call, this is the most beneficial in terms of saving time. You call and ask your question. You do not need to spend time typing out an email and then wait a few days for a reply. However, if you choose to call, you need to be very attentive and ensure you do not miss anything. It would be not look very good to have to call the Admissions Office again because you forgot something.

Emailing is still the most popular way of contacting Admissions counselors. However, it might take a few days before you receive a reply due to the amount of inquiries the Admissions Office receives every day. If it is not urgent, send an email using the professional email address that you will use in your application. This will help to match your communication with your application.

Final words

Keep in mind that schools usually “track” your contacts with them and take into account your level of interest in the school. Schools always want to see students who are motivated to attend their program. Therefore, any interaction with the school will be noted as the demonstration of your enthusiasm. Your communication with the school will not guarantee your acceptance, but in some cases, it could greatly help you. For example, if you are placed in a wait-list, they might send you advice on how to improve your profile.

MBA Strategy is an admissions consulting company with over 15 years of experience assisting talented candidates to become students of the world’s top business schools. Our achievements:

• 1,000 customers with 700+ GMAT scores

• Over 500 students admitted to top US and European business schools


Anna Tokarieva is an MBA Strategy consultant. She is an expert in school selection, profile assessment, brainstorming, and polishing application essays.


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Author: Victoria Dudka, MBA Strategy Consultants Team Lead

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