What Do College Admissions Officers Really Value?
Advice from “behind the curtain” of one college’s admission process.
Tips from experienced application readers:
Take time to reflect
Taking time to think about the kind of college experience you want can help you narrow down your list to schools that suit your personal and career goals. While you’re making sure you’re a good fit for the school, make sure it’s also a good fit for you.
McDermott’s last thought: “I think [high school] students should spend a little of time thinking what they liked in high school, what they didn’t like, who they are, and not just going and rushing off and looking at schools and getting in the frenzy.”
Visiting the campus, having a Skype or phone interview with an admissions counselor, or sitting in on a class shows admissions counselors you’re interested in that particular school. It also gives the school a chance to get to know you better.
“Just like a teacher in the classroom wants a student engaged, we want students engaged in the process with us. I think it makes for better discernment of what a good fit is for both them and for us,” says McDermott.
When it comes to the application, admissions counselors say the biggest red flag is a sloppy, half-baked essay.
“Or over-thinking the topics so much that it becomes awkward and doesn’t convey the student as it should,” McDermott adds.