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.

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.

Pam Proctor
Author The College Hook

What do admissions officers look for in an applicant?

Here is my video response to the question.

Ellen erichards@ellened.com
Owner Ellen Richards Admissions Consulting

A meaningful education earned in an unconventional manner

On May 28, 2009, eleven years after she began her pursuit of a bachelor’s degree, 41 year old Cathy Watkins delivered the valedictorian speech to her fellow classmates. Watkin’s classmates are also her fellow inmates at a maximum security state prison for women. In her speech, she reminded her audience that, “Even though these walls can restrict our physical movement, they cannot restrict our imagination, nor our connection to the outside world.” While many students graduating from college this year may not know what the future holds, Watkins and many of her classmates who graduated from the Marymount Manhattan College program with bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and high school equivalency diplomas know that their future will play out within prison walls. The question is simply how they will stimulate their intellect. For those who return to the outside world, there is promise. According to Marymount Manhattan’s president, Judson R. Shaver, the relapse rate for women who have been through the program is zero.

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.

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.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

Schools Are Looking to Fill a Need-Where Do You Fit In?

A fundamental truth of the admissions process is that schools’ decisions depend as much on their institutional needs as on an applicant’s record. Admissions professionals at each school are building communities--educational communities--but they are looking at education in the broadest sense. Consequently, while academics are a critical component, more central to the decision making is what an applicant will bring to the community. Every applicant need not have a special talent, an all-around good guy is important, as is a great academic record, but applicants must recognize that they are pieces in puzzles being assembled by admissions offices across the country.

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.

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.