How Universities Are Tracking Your Behavior

Your university is watching you. 

Actually, every university you’re interested in is keeping track of the interactions you have with their emails and website. Called behavioral tracking, the schools collect your interactions and add them to your applicant profile – even if you haven’t yet applied.

It might start when an email from a university appears in your email inbox. Click. You open it, and see a link to their website or information about a program. Click. Now they’ve connected your IP address to your email, enabling them to file every interaction you have with their website from that IP address under your name.

According to Saul Ewing at JD Supra, “institutions use tracking technology to capture data about the activity of their website visitors…this behavioral data can be linked to prospective students through an institution’s recruiting and marketing emails. When an email recipient clicks a link in an email from the institution to visit the institution’s website, the tracking technology records the email address associated with that IP address, which then connects the email address with the previously collected behavioral data."

Creepy? Yes. But it’s in your favor! Universities call applicants who don’t show any interest or interact with their website “stealth” or “ghost” applicants, and they are less likely to extend an admission offer to someone who hasn’t shown interest or done research on the school website. 

Colleges are using predictive analytics to figure out which applicants are most likely to accept an admission offer, and things that go into those analytics are demonstrated interest and your interactions with the university, one of which is the time you spend on their website.

So keep clicking on those emails. Let big brother watch you, because it’ll benefit you with every school tracking your interest. 
Want more information on the college application process? Check out our recent post on the junior year spring checklist.

Hillary K.

Essay Specialist

University of Virginia

Submit Comment

Leave Your Comment