Do admissions officers know each high school relatively well?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

Do admissions officers know each high school relatively well?

Jenny Rickard
Chief Enrollment Officer Bryn Mawr

Do admissions officers know each high school relatively well?

Here is my video response to the question.

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

Admissions Officers' Knowlege of High Schools

The degree to which admissions officers know high schools is a function of several factors, including their years working in a particular geographic region and the previous applicants to that college. I remember attending an information session with my son and being so impressed that the young admissions officer knew his school by name. Remember that reps are assigned geographically, and part of their job task is to travel within that region, especially in the fall. Through various stops and college fairs, they get to know various schools in their regions well. Of course if previous years' students have gained admission, the admissions officers may be more aware of the school. Sometimes, guidance counselors may wish to introduce themselves to admissions reps, particularly if they have candidates whom they think would be of interest to a particular college.

Corey Fischer
President CollegeClarity

They do in their "territory"

Most college admission offices are set up by regions or territories so the admission officer responsible for that territory knows most of the high schools well. If they don't know the school, they read the School Profile that is sent with the school credentials and will also call the counselor to learn more if needed.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

Colleges Work Hard to Know Schools and the Students

Most college structure their offices in such a way that certain people are responsible for certain areas, and thus they develop a familiarity and understanding of the schools from which they may receive applications. This helps them better understand the curriculum, know which co-curricular activities are the most meaningful, and in general helps them to read applications with a far more informed eye. All of this is magnified if a student attends a school that sends large numbers of students to the college on an annual basis. At the same time, wide ranging territories, staff turnover, and a limited number of students applying on a regular basis can limit the knowledge and that is why the school profile is an important resource for providing context for a student’s application and record.

Francine Schwartz
Founder/ President Pathfinder Counseling LLC

What do admissions officers know about your high school?

In my role as a college consultant for a large high school I had the privilege of meeting hundreds of admissions representatives. Usually colleges assign admissions officers to territories and they cover the same high schools year after year, though changes definitely occur. Each high school sends what is called a "high school profile" to every college where their students apply. The profile gives detailed statistics about the high school demographics and curriculum. In that way admissions officers can make fair comparisons between high schools. For example if you attend a rural high school in North Dakota they know that the number of AP classes available for a student to take will not be the same as a high school in suburban Washington DC for example. They would therefore not expect a student to have taken as many AP classes if they were not available to them. Francine Schwartz, M.A., LPC, NCC Founder and President Pathfinder Counseling LLC

Geoff Broome
Assistant Director of Admissions Widener University

Do admissions officers know each high school relatively well?

It all depends on how long the admissions officer has been in the business. If the admissions staff is new, they may not know a whole lot about the high schools that they visit. High Schools do get ranked though. Admissions Counselors do see high school rank. So, if you attend a school that is ranked highly, we most likely know about it. When admissions counselors come to a high school, we not only hope to meet with students, but with school counselors as well so that we can get a feel for the school and get to know the type of academic environment you are coming from.

Dr. Bruce Neimeyer
CEO/Partner Global College Search Associates, LLC

Do admissions officers know each high school relatively well?

Most admissions offices have at least one officer whose responsibility it is to know and monitor a geographical region. Therefore, not only do they know about your high school but will be informed about many other things that are happening in that region as it relates to business and the economy. Doing this helps them to better understand other factors that might influence how and what applicants might surface from this territory from year to year. In relation to the high school question, admissions officers know the high school from several ways. First, the high school profile usually accompanies all the transcripts. This helps the offer to know the course offerings, special programs, grading scale and general performance of the student body as a whole. Second, admissions officers take the time to meet with guidance counselors from the school who can give them insight into many other factors which are not apparent from the paper profile. Typically, they will keep a file on the high school and record any relevant information that the admissions office should know when considering student from there. Also, the companies that administer the ACT or SAT collect biodemographic information from each student who takes the exam. They bundle this information in relation to the students high school and that cumulative information is available to many colleges so that they have an idea about the students academically as well as whether most of them are sending their scores to out of state or in state schools and their general academic area of interest. This allows many admissions officers to know if the high school is worth visiting because of the match between such factors as these and the college they represent. These are a few of the ways that admissions officers will educate themselves about their high schools for which they are responsible. If they do this well it will greatly assist them in their job and will help to ensure good admissions decisions for the applicants from that territory to their institution.

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

Do admissions officers know each high school relatively well?

Some do, some don't.

Edward LaMeire
CEO LaMeire College Consulting (lameirecollegeconsulting.com)

Do admissions officers know each high school relatively well?

When I worked at a small school, I knew my high schools and the counselors incredibly well. When you lobby for a student's admission, you really need to know the school profile frontward, backward, and sideways. When I worked at a large public school, I knew zero about our applicants' schools. We were on a point system that eschewed any "school favoritism." In other words, it really depends on the college. Also, it's worth noting that I would only know a student's school had that school had an applicant in the past. There would be no reason to know a thing about the school of a stealth applicant in the middle of nowhere. This is where the high school profile and counselor report are invaluable.

Shoshana Krieger

Do admissions officers know each high school relatively well?

Depending on how long an admissions officer has been responsible for a particular territory, they may be very familiar with the high schools in that region. Admissions officers travel to high schools in their territories, develop relationships with counselors over time, and read many applications from the same schools. For newer admissions officers, or for admissions officers who are less familiar with a region, each high school sends a detailed profile of their school along with every application. That way, the admissions officer has all of the information they need to understand where each student is coming from. If there are questions that can't be answered from the profile or from past experience, admissions officers will call the college counselor for clarification.