What is a college admissions hook?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

What is a college admissions hook?

Pam Proctor
Author The College Hook

What is a college admissions hook?

Here is my video response to the question.

Pam Proctor
Author The College Hook

What is a college admissions hook?

Here is my video response to the question.

Pam Proctor
Author The College Hook

What is a college admissions hook?

Here is my video response to the question.

Suzan Reznick
Independent Educational Consultant The College Connection

A reason for a college to want YOU!

All schools expect to put together a bright freshman class and to do that they review your grades, classes and test scores. But, because there are so many bright students applying each year, they do a finer review of each application looking for those with a "hook". A Hook could be defined as having a special talent. That talent could certainly be athletic- i.e. a state ranked athlete. Or your talent might be in the arts, where you have an extensive theater, music or dance resume. There are many different types of hooks and colleges need to fill their sports teams, their orchestras, debate teams, newspapers etc. with the most talented students possible. Having a hook will not take the place of a poor academic profile, but for those students "on the bubble" it might certainly make the different as to their admissions decision.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

The Hook

When most people talk about having a "hook", I believe they are referring to their essay. It's the opening line that catches the reader's attention and makes them want to keep reading. Some people may think it refers to the "spike" in you profile that makes you stand out from the crowd. While you appear well-rounded, there is an area that you are REALLY passionate about, or that makes you really unique aside from the rest of your application. You can't force a "spike", you either have one or you don't.

Annie Reznik
Counselor/CEO College Guidance Coach

As in writing, a hook is an attention getter

In college admissions, a "hook" is something that makes a candidate stand out in a competitive review process. Students who possess a characteristic, experience or quality that is desired by the institution are said to have a "hook." Perhaps you are a tuba player destined to dot a famous "i." Or, maybe you are interested in pursuing a major that is traditionally under-subscribed. The "hook" question is one that reminds students that admission offices ultimately make decisions that fulfill the needs and mission of their institution.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

College Admissions Hook:

A "hook" is another aspect of your admissions file which could be an extra incentive to the admissions office to send you the acceptance letter. Depending on the requirements and priorities of the college, such qualities could include but are not limited to talents such as athletics or music to legacies to development admits to diversity.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

The Right Hook Can Land a Big Fish

In the world of college admissions a hook is the thing that sets an applicant apart. At a selective school that is sifting through a seemingly endless number of highly qualified applicants, a hook is the thing--a specific and special talent (a long snapper in football), a singular accomplishment (any patents on file?), a piece of your story (overcoming a critical illness) that separates someone from the pack and gives the admission office a reason to accept them instead of the 5, 6, or 7 others who could fill that space. Every high school has a student government president, every school has a valedictorian, but there are other, more distinctive things that can set an applicant apart. Not everyone has a distinctive hook. Great all around records still count for a lot, but to have a hook on top of that can be of great value.

Geoff Broome
Assistant Director of Admissions Widener University

hooks and lures

Hooks are things that stick out on an application i.e. athlete, legacy, music, band.

Margaret Tung
Strategist Yale University

What is a college admissions hook?

A hook is something that makes you tick--or something you're passionate about that is unique. Maybe you're really into fly-fishing, maybe you're into taxidermy (hopefully scientifically, not as a creepy obsession), maybe you're multi-racial and you're living in an otherwise homogenous community and you have an interesting experience to reflect on. Basically, what makes you stand out from your peers? Think about who your peers are...maybe on paper you're a hardcore science nerd, but you've volunteered summer after summer at a poetry camp for kids and you've published a small book of poems because you have a burning desire to be the next poet laureate, after you save the world through rocket science. But it doesn't have to be something super extraordinary like that, even. Maybe you're just good at something--it doesn't have to be unique--and you care about it so much you touch it in all parts of your life. Say you're on the high school basketball team and on weekends you coach basketball for youths, or you started a basketball fan club where everyone runs stats and watches plays together and analyzes the game, or you start a weekly basketball game at a hospital for patients in PT who are close to full recovery, or you've researched some way to make manufacturing basketballs more sustainable. You see what I mean. An admissions hook is: you love something and you've done a lot within your power to get out there and make sure it's in your life.