Who Reads My College Application?
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Monique Hunter in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
A Breakdown of the Admissions Committee
The Admissions Committee
In order to best optimize your admissions strategy, let’s shed some light on who the admissions committee is. You might be asking yourself, who reads my application? Usually, the people who read your application are part of that university’s admissions committee. They read through all the applications received that year and can go through several applications in just one hour. The process happens very fast. The admissions committee collectively decides who to accept, reject and who to put on the waitlist. If you’ve never heard of the waitlist, it is basically when someone is deferred by the college. They are neither accepting or rejecting that student and want to wait and see what other applicants they have before making their decision.
The Admissions Officer
Another person you might have heard of is the admissions officer. A school’s admissions officer oversees a specific region in the country, so each school has multiple of them. They are usually a diverse group that represents the graduates of the university. Many of them might be veterans of the school.
Admissions officers tend to be on the younger side with more liberal views. Even if you notice this in your region’s admissions officer, it is important not to tailor your essays to meet their perceived political preferences. You want to stay away from any political topics in your essay as you never know who is reading your application.
How the Admissions Process Works
The actual admissions process varies school by school. Not every school has the same process, but there is usually a similar structure. The process begins with one reader who scans over your academic qualifications and then decides if the rest of your application moves on to the next step. If two readers read the same application and their scores are vastly different, then your application gets forwarded to another committee or subcommittee where it is read over again and a new decision is made.
After reviewing your academic qualifications, your essays and extracurriculars are looked at by a new batch of readers. At this point they have decided that you meet the university’s academic threshold and now are looking at other areas of your application.
Very selective schools like Harvard, the IVs and top state schools usually have three or four people reviewing your application and give you a score. The score is usually broken down into four buckets. The first bucket is for applications that are likely to be admitted. The second bucket is for applications that need further reviewing. The third bucket is for applications that are likely to be rejected and the last bucket has applications that will almost certainly be rejected.
Applications put in the fourth bucket are usually the applicants that did not meet the university’s academic threshold. This is the number one reason why a person is rejected. When it comes time to decide which schools you are applying to, make sure to look up the previous years data. Look into the average GPA and test scores of those admitted students. You want to make sure that you at least meet the academic threshold for that university.