Top admissions officials from some of the best colleges and universities around the U.S. offer insight and advice to common college admission questions.
Compiled by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
As college tuition costs rise, as more applicants compete for limited enrollment slots, and as technology continues its push into college admissions, the process for college-bound high school students and your families in finding, choosing, and applying to the colleges of your choice become more important and more complex.
The 3rd Set of College Admissions Questions
After careful review of previous years results and the new developments and trends in college addmissions, we formulated these questions for this study:
- Does your college/university have an early decision option for students who know your school is their top choice? If yes, what criteria do you look for in these students that is different than students who apply for regular admission. If no, why has your school chosen not to have such a program? What do you think are the most important factors that should go into a student’s decision to apply to a college for early decision? Read the responses.
- It seems like you cannot talk to one high school student who has not completed some amount of community service and the number of hours keep rising. How important is an applicant’s involvement in community service to your admission decision? How does it rate compared to involvement in student activities and organizations? What does community service say to you and your staff about an applicant? And with so many students now doing community service, does it given any applicant an edge? Read the responses.
- We talk a lot to high school students about finding a college/university that is the right “fit” for them in terms of academics, size, location, etc. As you look at applicants, do you and your staff also look at “fit” of applicants? If so, what kinds of things go into judging “fit” — and how can applicants better explain why they think they would be a perfect fit for your school? Read the responses.
- Does your school require or recommend an essay from applicants? If yes, can you describe some of the characteristics of the best essays you have read over the past few years? What’s your advice to an applicant who wants to make a personal statement with the essay? If no, why has your school decided not to use essays? Read the responses.
- Can a student with a mixed academic record (we’re talking A’s to F’s) in a tough curriculum (AP, IB, Honors) justify that record (due to illness, family issues, etc.)? What if balanced with high standardized test scores? In other words, can a student with such a mixed academic background find a path to admission to your college/university — and if so, generally how must it be accomplished? Read the responses.
The Current College Admission Officer Respodents
We solicited the opinions of top admissions officers from a wide spectrum of colleges and universities — both academically diverse (from liberal arts colleges to large state universities) as well as geographically diverse (from every corner of the U.S.). Each institution is highly regarded and ranked among the best in the United States.
Here are the wonderful admissions officials who responded to our study. Please feel free to follow the link to learn more about each person and his/her college/university. (Some of our participants were more forthcoming than others!)
- Daniel C. Walls, Dean of Admission, Emory University
- Jay E. Murray, Director of Admissions, Marist College
- Karen Guastelle, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, Sacred Heart University
- Tracy Manier, Dean of Undergraduate Admission, St. Edwards University
- Karen G. Copetas, Director of Admissions and Enrollment Planning, Western Washington University
Go back to the main page: Answers to Common College Admissions Questions.
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