What do admissions officers look for in an applicant?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

What do admissions officers look for in an applicant?

Rod Bugarin
Former Admissions Officer Columbia, Brown, and Wesleyan University

What do admissions officers look for in an applicant?

Here is my video response to the question.

Nancy Meislahn
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Wesleyan University

What do admissions officers look for in an applicant?

Here is my video response to the question.

Pam Proctor
Author The College Hook

What do admissions officers look for in an applicant?

Here is my video response to the question.

Eric Furda
Dean of Admissions University of Pennsylvania

What do admissions officers look for in an applicant?

Here is my video response to the question.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

What do admissions officers look for in an applicant?

Strong grades in a rigorous college preparatory curriculum. After these first major academic requirements, then it depends on the mission and needs of each college. Certain schools may use the SAT scores in considering candidates, other schools are test-optional. Some schools weigh extracurricular interests and leadership potential more heavily than recommendations and essays. For other colleges, the essay plays an important role. Some admission offices utilize the evaluations from interviews while others consider the interviews to be informative rather than evaluative. Each admissions office has its own mandate and requirements.

Geoff Broome
Assistant Director of Admissions Widener University

the List

GPA Test Scores High School course Rigor Extra-Curriculars Essay Letters of Recommendations These are a few of the things. If an office brings you in for an interview, then we want to see that you can form clear and concise thoughts. We want to see a level of maturity, and we are looking for intellectual originality.

Calli Christenson
Director CLC College Prep Services

What do admissions officers look for in an applicant?

More than anything else, admissions officers are looking for student who will be a good fit for their university. They are looking for applicants who, not only represent themselves well, but represent the college in a very positive light, as well. This is why it is important to be genuine and truly yourself as you apply to schools. Put your best foot forward, but remember that it is most important to be yourself. Every college is looking for something a little different.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

What do admissions officers look for in an applicant?

The answer to this is "it depends on which college" you are talking about. All colleges like to see a challenging curriculum, good grades, and solid test scores. They like to see students who have dedicated interests, do community service, play sports. There is room at most colleges for many different types of individual, and this is the best kind of student body to be a part of.

Jeana Robbins
Counselor

What do admissions officers look for in an applicant?

They want to see someone who is balanced, self motivated, someone who will be an asset to their learning community. They often want to see students who have considered other options, and who understand the advantages of attending their university.

Allen Regar

What do admissions officers look for in an applicant?

That depends on the college to which the applicant is applying. Some of the larger schools, such as Penn State and Rutgers are concerned primarily with the numbers--your GPA and your standardized test scores. Regardless of your leadership position in clubs, volunteer activities, or sports under your belt, if you don't have the right numbers, you will not make the cut for such colleges (unless you are a superstar athlete). Other schools take a more holistic approach to the admissions process. True, GPA and standardized test scores may be important, but so are the rigor of your classes (i.e., whether you are challenging yourself or taking an easier road), you clubs and sport activity, volunteer work, student government, letters of recommendation, your essay, and possible work history. The most important thing you can do if you are wondering about what admissions officers at a certain college are looking for in an applicant is to contact the admissions department itself. The question, "What are you looking for in a successful applicant" is a fair one, and one that most admissions officers would be more than happy to answer for you. Granted, you may not know exactly what happens during the closed-door application review process, but you will be more informed than applying without that knowledge. Remember, you should look for a college that is a good "fit" for you. Part of that fit deals with whether the admissions department will look at those portions of your application that truly shine.