What do admissions officers look for in an applicant?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

What do admissions officers look for in an applicant?

Patricia Krahnke
President/Partner Global College Search Associates, LLC

It's Simple, Really

Short Answer: Great grades and maturity. Detailed Answer: 1. Great grades. 2. Strong academic classes, including AP and honors (Ivies want to see that you have exhausted your coursework at your high school and achieved consistent excellence). 3. Maturity. If you have done poorly in a semester or two, admissions officers want to see you take responsibility for it without placing blame on various people or situations. 4. They want to see that you have not sacrificed your grades for too many extracurriculars. 5. They want to see that you have settled on one or two extracurricular interests and have pursued leadership opportunities. 6. Excellent writing and thinking skills. The fact is, anyone’s Mom can write the essay, and it can be just as readily purchased off the Internet. So admissions may or may not formally count the SAT writing score in the application process, but they will definitely take note of how well you did. 7. They want to see that you followed their instructions.

Benjamin Caldarelli
Partner Princeton College Consulting, LLC

What do admissions officers look for in an applicant?

Admissions officers are looking for students that will best thrive and contribute to the unique milieu at their college. Specifically strong grades in a rigorous curriculum along with strong standardized test scores are seen first. Then they look for well written and thoughtful essays, leadership in a community, athletic or artistic talent, and desire to attend. Basically, almost everything that makes ones a good friend, citizen, and person also makes them attractive to an admissions officer.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

What do admissions officers look for in an applicant?

Admissions counselors are looking for students who have grit, resilience, are humble, wise, and demonstrate courage, to name just a few desireable character traits. They want you to have something to offer the college community. That could be a political bent, interest in community service, musical ability, athletic prowess, etc. Schools are looking for students who will be engaged while on campus, both academically and socially.

Suzanne Shaffer
Owner Parents Countdown to College Coach

What do admissions officers look for in an applicant?

The admissions process is purely subjective. Each admissions officer looks for different things. But one thing is for certain--you must stand out from other applicants. Each applicant needs to market themselves to the admissions officer. Find a hook and make yourself shine. Spend time on your essay and your personal statements. Those are documents they look at and hook them.