How do Admissions Officers Review Applications

Get the inside scoop on how Admissions Officers make decisions when it comes to admitting students into their college. Join former Admissions Officer, Shannon Kennedy, as she walks you through the behind the scenes of how AOs review applications and ultimately choose which students to accept, waitlist, or deny. The webinar will start with a 30-minute presentation and end with a 30-minute live Q&A. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!

Date 08/09/2022
Duration 01:00:02

Webinar Transcription

2022-08-09 – How do Admissions Officers Review Applications

Hi everyone. My name is Lonnie Webb and I’m your moderator today. Welcome to How Admission Officers Review Applications with CollegeAdvisor. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q&A on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q&A tab.

Now let’s meet our panelists.

Hi everyone. My name is Shannon Kennedy. Uh, I am a former Admissions Officer at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. Um, I live in the Chicago area. It’s a beautiful day here. So, um, it’s a nice day to be talking to you all about the admissions process and how admissions officers make decisions.

Um, I’ve also worked at a couple of other universities in the area and at a high school here, um, and have been advising students for about seven years on the process. So, um, looking forward to talking more about, um, how everything goes. Okay. So before we get into the content portion of our webinar, we wanna get a sense of what grade are you in.

So if you don’t mind, please select your response in the poll.

Okay, the responses are coming in. So we have, seems like it’s about 33% or actually a little bit above, about 40% of our participants are in the 12th grade. 30% are in the 11th grade, followed by that we have a few 10th graders and then we have some other, um, responses. So I’ll turn it back over to you, Shannon.

Okay, great. Thanks. Well, um, good luck to those 12th graders who are getting ready to jump into this process. Um, this is a good time to think about how, um, the admissions office will review everything that you’re putting together, it all comes in bits and pieces, and you’re preparing all these different little sections, but they look at as one whole picture, um, and try to get, you know, kind of the essence of you in their review.

Um, we often speak about that as, um, the applicant profile. Um, you can think of it as you know, what is your story or your brand? There’s a lot of other, um, phrases to describe this. Like maybe your elevator pitch, your application, narrative, what is your. Theme. Um, so basically, uh, if you’re thinking like the admissions officer, they’re trying to look at all these different pieces and figure out just kind of, you know, who you are, what your story is.

Um, they often have to write a short summary, um, at the end of their, um, review of your file to, um, describe you as probably they’re turning your file over to another person in the office to take a look at or passing it on to a committee. So how will they sum it up? What will they say about you kind of in that blurb that they’re writing.

So when you’re preparing your application, you really wanna be thinking about that big picture, just kind of, what are you trying to showcase across the whole application and how are you gonna represent your different, important qualities throughout the different pieces of your application? So you have those different parts and pieces, um, to work with.

And when you kind of get done and look at them as a whole, you wanna make sure that every important quality that you want to highlight is there somewhere in a part of application. So, um, when we think about, you know, how, uh, admissions officers sit down and, and do that, how they kind of come through that, um, file to get to that summary.

Uh, we often hear this term holistic evaluation. Um, it’s thrown around quite a bit in admissions offices. So, um, whatever grade level you’re on, if you’ve gone on a tour or sat in like a virtual presentation about admissions, um, you’ve probably heard the admissions office, uh, representative talk about the holistic evaluations.

So, um, it really means that they’re looking at all the parts of your application and really weighing them all, um, for. Universities that have a holistic process, which are, um, a lot of universities and especially, you know, that, that top tier of institutions, um, they’re really taking a human approach to it.

Looking at every piece of the application rather than, um, a formulaic approach. Some, um, institutions that receive a huge volume of applications may, you know, do some data crunching and have more of a quantitative review process. But a holistic process is really looking at all the pieces, no formula and, um, really trying to make a decision on.

Every, uh, portion, um, and kind of what the, the student is bringing to the table. Um, no matter where, um, that holistic review is taking place, um, academics is certainly at the top of the list about, um, you know, what is evaluated there. Um, so you’re gonna see that as a theme throughout, and I try to put it in bold.

I am shouting like academics is the, um, most important part of this, right? That’s, that’s the foundation. Um, without that, uh, it’s hard for the admissions officer to look past it at the other parts of the application as they’re doing that holistic review. Um, so you’re passing, you know, kind of a baseline there, um, with academics, especially at competitive institutions, um, the activities also, you know, tell a piece of that story.

How do you spend your time? Um, what kinds of leadership, um, might you have taken on. Sort of accomplishments. Do you have in the things that you’re involved in? Um, we’re often looking for depth over breadth or, um, at least some depth, uh, somewhere, um, to show that you’ve been dedicated to some things over time and had that opportunity to take on some leadership roles.

Um, that doesn’t mean that breadth, you know, isn’t great as well, but there probably should be some depth, um, somewhere across the activity list. Um, the writing is also a piece of that process. Um, Again, kind of like a baseline. Does this meet, you know, basic grammatical standards? Is this college ready writing?

And then what story is it telling? So what qualities are you showcasing in the writing? This is one of the places where you really can showcase your personality. Um, so thinking about how you are putting that together and, um, tying it to your overall story, kind of bringing together all the pieces of your application, um, your opportunities to write on the application can really, um, bring that story all together.

Um, colleges. Will also consider fit or demonstrated interest to different levels of extent. So, um, some colleges may weigh this pretty heavily others. Um, not as much. Um, if you get a question about why do you wanna apply to this institution? Why do you wanna major in this thing? Um, if you get questions about, have you visited, um, how have you interacted with us, um, through the process on the application, that’s a good indicator.

That fit is something that this institution cares about. They wanna know kind of how you match, um, with their mission or goals. Um, and so they’ll usually give a good indication of that in the way that they would and ask the question. Um, so that is usually one of the main ways that, um, institutions are looking.

For that fit in how you answer those questions about, um, why you want to be there. Um, finally, um, hooks, uh, are another aspect that may come into this, uh, something that you won’t often hear the, uh, admissions office talk about, but maybe the way that they talk about it behind the scenes, you know, and it’s kind of, um, You can think of it as, you know, what the priorities are of the admissions office, kind of what metrics are they trying to meet with their class or, um, just kind of what, um, factors might tip a student over an edge, like.

Maybe we have a big need for tubas in the marching band this year . And so, um, maybe, you know, all things being equal between students, that person who’s the tuba player that year it’s their, their year, um, to, to get the admission. Um, and there are a host of other factors, you know, that, that admissions offices may be prioritizing in a given year, which could change every year.

Um, so we can’t always predict those things, but that could, uh, be a part of the holistic review when the admissions offices kind of crunching that, um, data to see if they’re kind of meeting all the targets that they need to meet, um, with their class. So, uh, if we think about those individual applications and when they get to the office and kind of how they move through the process.

So, uh, just simply part of the initial, um, process is just getting your application there on time, right? Meeting the deadlines, completing all your materials, um, early, uh, is better. Um, whatever that deadline is, you wanna get your application in well in advance so you can make sure it has time to process through, um, the back ends, uh, you know, data center or processing of the admissions office.

Um, all the different pieces can come together. Um, often you’ll have some kind of portal where you can see that everything’s complete and received, um, and so much better to do that. Um, Days in advance of the deadline versus submitting on the deadline. And then, uh, you know, not being sure kind of, if everything is arrived and, um, made it to your file.

Um, so that’s certainly part of it just getting everything there that needs to be there. Um, within the time, um, it’s, again, going through that kind of backend someone is, you know, checking, um, that it’s ready to go on, um, and passing it, um, to a reader or a committee. Um, so whoever is gonna take that first look, um, at that file.

Um, oftentimes it’s one of the, the junior staff members. Um, there can also be part-time seasonal staff that will make that initial look, um, at your application. Um, it’s actually just reading an article, uh, yesterday about how many institutions had to increase their part-time staff over, um, the pandemic with an increase in applications.

Um, so, uh, definitely a lot of institutions make use of those outside readers who might be like retired, um, counselors, maybe teachers who do this as a part-time job or, um, you know, just, uh, graduate students were often, um, involved in the process, uh, where I worked. So, um, there could be some other folks who go through, uh, you know, a significant amount of training, um, but, um, are not a part of the full-time staff of the admissions office who might be involved in, in the review of the file.

Um, From that initial review, it often goes into a second review or a committee. So probably a more senior staff member who takes that initial recommendation. So again, they’re probably going right to that blurb that the first person wrote, you know, who, what is the student all about? What is the recommendation?

And then going through to see if they agree with that recommendation. Um, maybe a little more quickly than the first person who had to go through and find all the information and data points and get to that summary. Um, but really kind of verifying if, um, if that first person was on target, um, some colleges may actually pass your application in a different.

To the college or the school. So sometimes there, um, will be programs that are more specialized, um, where perhaps there were specific additional questions or portfolio requirements or auditions that are a part of the process. So sometimes somebody from another department like a professor, um, would get involved as well.

So that can vary a little bit depending on where you’re applying, what you’re applying for. Um, but it often goes this way. Um, sometimes. There, um, could be more of like a committee for that second review where a group of people get in a room and sort of go over the file together. And again, this is where I’m saying that that admissions officer who reviewed your file, is there, um, trying to summarize you and defend, you know, what they think, um, about the trajectory of the decision.

Um, so having that sort of cohesive story for them to be able to communicate, um, is, you know, what you’re aiming for in the process to kind of make it easy for them to identify. Your, you know, core story that they can bring to the committee or that that first person can pass on to the second or, you know, whichever variation may happen.

So I’m certainly not covering all the different possibilities, but just giving you an idea of kind of how this might go behind the scenes. There are certainly, um, some other variations out there, um, in different types of admissions offices. Um, so every school may have a, a slightly different process, but this would certainly kinda cover a pretty broad segment.

Um, so after it goes through that process, um, and of course data is being tracked all the way. All the files kind of go through this initial process at the end, the admissions office, the Dean kind. Uh, the Associate Provost, Vice President, whoever is in charge there maybe a group of people at a higher level are looking at all the reports for the class.

Right. Did we admit too many students? If we admit this many students, how many do we think will ultimately enroll kind of looking through to see, like, did we get a wide geographic range that we were hoping to meet? Did we get a certain number of computer science majors, kind of how, how has all this balanced out in the class as a whole so often, um, getting to this stage, uh, as an admissions office, um, Typically, uh, there were years where we were over our target, right.

And this, because we had so many awesome students applying and it would be hard to make those tough decisions. And so now we are at this point where we’ve, um, reviewed all these applications, they’ve gone through the process, but we know if we admit this many students, we simply won’t have space for all the students who say yes.

So now we have to go back and make some adjustments. Um, and this was always like a painful part of the process for me because, um, I, you know, saw, uh, something special in these students, but I would have to go back and figure out, okay, what, who, um, can we trim, who is maybe gonna go to the wait list instead of to the admit pile?

Um, so there is this tweaking balancing, um, shaping that goes on kind of in the end of the process to make sure. That you’ve met all those marks that I was talking about in the beginning in the class as a whole. So, uh, that kind of gets to the big picture. Um, and again, you wanna have that story that really resonated with the admissions officer so that you’re not, uh, one of those people being, um, let go in the end when there’s, um, just not the.

Um, so when, uh, we’re thinking about the individual file, and it’s often a question of, you know, how long will they actually spend on my application? How long, um, will this take, um, will they have time to, you know, really process, um, my story and, uh, I think, uh, the basic answer is, um, you probably won’t be happy with how much time they spend on your application.

Um, you would probably, no matter what I say, you’d probably feel like, uh, you would wish for them to spend a little more time with your application. Um, but admissions officers are certainly, you know, pressed for time. Um, they, uh, get in a flow, kind of have a strategy for reviewing applications and are able to move pretty quickly through it.

Um, sometimes they. Know, kind of, you know, what they’re looking for, the key pieces they need to be, um, paying attention to. Um, so they can move through it pretty quickly. Uh, it could be 15 minutes. Um, it could be a little less, a little more, um, but that is usually enough for them to see what they need to see to know, um, kinda which, uh, direction the, an application is going to go.

Uh, some schools, you know, may have a process that’s quantitative at first kind of pulling out the strongest or weakest applicants and, um, kind of dealing with those in an expedited way. Um, so it can vary depending on, you know, some maybe quantitative indicators, um, how much time is spent, um, to a particular application, um, And if, you know, the first reader is very clear and definitive, uh, then maybe the second reader then wouldn’t spend as much time.

So it could vary a little bit depending on how the application, uh, presents. Um, it’s usually those, uh, borderline, um, applications, um, that, um, are on the edge, uh, that take a little bit more time to, um, determine kind of where that fits, um, in the grand scheme of things. So, um, those per probably, uh, are going kind of above the average while the admissions officer is really, you know, digging, uh, deep in there to deliberate, um, on it.

Um, sometimes admissions officers may read applications as a group from a high school. So if, um, uh, Your high school potentially sends a large group of applicants to a particular institution. Um, it will just make it a little bit easier for that admissions officer to look at them all at one time. Um, so they won’t have to be sort of switching back and forth between, um, different grading scales, different curriculums.

They can, um, just kind of get in mind what is offered at that school and kind of what the, the grading scale looks like, and then kinda stay moving right through that particular, um, high school so that, um, again, will help them move more efficiently, help them get a better sense of what a good student looks like at that particular school.

Um, so, uh, that is often a practice again for, um, High schools, uh, that are considered, you know, like feeder schools for a particular college, uh, just to kind of look at those simultaneously or are kind of in one sitting or, um, I, I certainly have looked at schools where it’s taken me several days to get through one whole group from, um, a particular high school.

Um, but it does, um, kind of. Make things a little bit easier, um, to, to focus, um, on that way and not have to kind of be always reevaluating, you know, what available, what is available at a particular school and what is the context, um, that I’m looking at? Um, there’s certainly, um, a lot of pressure on admissions officers, you know, to, um, meet their deadlines, um, to get you back your admissions decisions when they were promised.

Um, so this, this is a lot of work. And just to give you, you know, an idea of, of what it’s like, um, for admissions officers, a lot of this work is being done, you know, from home remotely. Um, you’re like hunkered down in a room over the winter, just reading and reading, uh, applications all day, um, every day, uh, basically to get through, um, this process.

So. It’s it’s a, um, a serious, you know, like methodical process. Um, so again, anything that you can do to help make it easier for that admissions officer to identify your story, um, would certainly help them, um, be able to do their job, um, in a better way. So definitely, um, a lot, uh, goes into this and admissions officers take the work, um, very seriously.

Um, but I, I know it, it’s always a little disappointing to know that it might be a pretty short amount of time that gets, um, invested in the review after you’ve put your heart and soul in it and hours and hours. Um, so I certainly feel feel that, um, for you, um, But, uh, with kind of the experience and the, um, training, um, over the years, admissions officers kind of really, um, are efficient at it working their way through this.

So I want you to rest assured that they’re, um, really doing that holistic review, um, on the other side and, um, yeah, getting your story in there, um, really framing it for them will help them be able to, to kind of, um, go to bat for you. Uh, when it comes time in the process.

So when we’re thinking about, you know, when they sit down with that file, the things that they’re looking at again, academics, um, it has to be there, especially at the competitive institutions. That’s the most important thing I can’t, you know, go to bat for you, um, with the committee or later in the process, if you don’t meet the basic academic qualifications.

So they’ll be looking very closely at your grades, the rigor of the courses that you’ve selected. Um, your teacher recommendations may play a little bit into that academic, um, review, um, as well as the high school context, you know, what is available at your high school? How did you take advantage of that?

Um, those are all. Factors that will be, um, part of your academic evaluation. And then sometimes, you know, the comments will be broken out kind of on these different, um, criteria or, um, other criteria perhaps, uh, that admissions office is, um, used to kind of break down their summary comments. Um, but these are, these are some of the key, um, factors so that you can count on, there’s an academic evaluation as part of the process.

Um, first and foremost, um, again, the institutional fit, um, so that why us essays, um, visits, um, interactions, they may have, um, access to like how much you’ve interacted with the emails that have been sent to you. Um, how, um, Much you have emailed, um, you know, and interacted with the admissions officer, um, the tours, uh, they may have kind of a record of all the interactions that you’ve had in addition to the essay that you write about why you went to attend there.

Um, In the activities again, kind of looking, um, for that commitment and dedication, um, over time, um, seeing how you spend your time outside of class, that’s another, um, way to like demonstrate a little bit of your personality, um, as well as leadership ability. Um, so, uh, would love to see when we’re looking at applications that, um, you’ve, you know, stepped up to take on some additional responsibility, um, in something across the board or, um, reach, uh, you know, a level of achievement, um, in, you know, one of your.

Activities, uh, so that, um, definitely helps to tell your story as well. Um, finally, personal qualities. So again, just getting to know you, those, those somewhat like intangible things, um, that are sometimes difficult to bring through the application. Um, but it’s in the way that you write your essay. Um, again, it can come forth in your teacher or counselor recommendations if they really, you know, tell some stories about, um, what type of student you are, what type of individual you are, um, in the school.

Um, and then, uh, the, the list towards the end of, um, this bullet point, uh, I took right from the University of California, um, application review process. Um, so this, these are some things that they are looking for, which certainly apply to lots of institutions, character, insight, tenacity initiative, originality, uh, intellectual curiosity, which also ties to responsibility, motivation, maturity, um, demonstrated concern for others and for the community.

So, um, all of those things come out in your writing or, um, your activities or, um, in those different pieces, um, that we discussed. So time for a poll . Yes. Yes. Yes, yes. Thank you. Shannon. It is time for a poll. So we would like to know where are you in the college application process? Um, have you started, or maybe you haven’t started, perhaps you’re currently researching schools are working on your essays.

Maybe you’re getting a really early start getting the application, um, material in. I know that the common app has opened, um, or maybe you’re almost done. So let us know where you are. Okay. So it looks about 50% of our participants are currently in the researching schools followed by that 30% are working on their essays.

11% hasn’t started, which is okay. I know after tonight you’re gonna have be really more equipped to get started when you’re ready. And then 8% is getting your application material together. I’ll turn it back over to you. Okay. Thanks.

All right. Well, Since many of you are working on your essays. , let’s talk a little bit though about those essays and activities and how they factor into the admission decision. Um, they definitely vary how much they factor in. Um, it’s often the thing that seals the deal or sinks the ship, right? It puts you over the edge or it falls flat.

Um, we want to, um, you know, meet that academic baseline, but a lot of students are gonna meet that baseline. So now once you get past that, um, you have that essays in the activities to really, you know, showcase your other qualities, um, to stand out, um, from everyone who kind of meets that academic standard.

Um, so yeah, definitely have seen, you know, a perfect scoring grading. Full rigor, everything student be denied because I, they don’t, there’s nothing else. They don’t, um, have any more to their story. Um, so, uh, if you focus only on academics, um, that could definitely hurt you a little bit in the process. So those other things definitely do count.

So, um, I’ve really emphasized that academics are very important. It needs to be, you know, at the level, um, that the institution expects. Um, but it needs to be supplemented with, um, some of these other elements as well, that really make you into more of, of a personality, right? The academics is just going to, um, be a list of courses and grades.

Now we want to know kind of what you’re all about. What’s important to you. Um, what do you care about how you spend your time? Um, In terms of the activities also, again, uh, I’ve mentioned a little bit, but again, that achievement or leadership is really what helps to raise you to the next level. Um, so you’ve been a member of a lot of things, but have you stepped up to an officer role?

Have you, you know, organized, um, some, you know, activity or fundraiser, have you, um, Accomplish some level of, um, achievement in perhaps one of the sports that you’re a part of or in, um, a music, um, related activity so that it can be a lot of different things in which you can display, you know, leadership or achievement.

Um, but we’re really looking for those things that are a little bit above just participating kind of how have you taken it beyond, um, just showing up, right. Um, In, uh, some cases supplemental essays can, um, actually weigh in more than just the main essay. Um, so some institutions, um, care very much about their extra questions.

Um, and those really, um, are your opportunity to speak just to that college. Um, so in the, you know, overall application, you’ll, you’ll list your activities. You’ll do your essay that will go virtually everywhere, but those supplemental essays will only go to that institution and you can really personalize them, um, and make them specific, um, to that institution really think about, um, what some of those goals are, what the mission of that institution is, and really.

Speak to that, um, in your supplemental essays. Um, and because you can make that really specific, um, that can really help to, um, set you apart, uh, for that institution. Um, there are some institutions, you know, that have really specific missions, um, that they are, you know, really looking for students who are, um, a fit with that mission.

So again, you can speak to that in the supplemental essays, but also perhaps your activities would align, um, well with schools, with certain missions, um, religious, um, for example, or, um, some schools that really focus on service, um, having those particular types of activities in your list will resonate differently, um, at those institutions where, um, it’s aligns with what is a part of the mission.

So, uh, it could, it. Balance that a little bit differently, depending on what the institution, um, again, is prioritizing and looking for, um, in their class. So that can be a little bit of a, a hook that we were talking about earlier that alignment with, um, the institutional mission and goals.

Um, another, uh, kinda wildcard factor that might come into the admissions officer’s review is interviews, um, interviews, uh, Are not available everywhere and oftentimes are optional. Um, there are some schools out there that do interview everybody and require it. Um, so I, I think my answer here and how it is assessed, uh, can vary quite a bit depending on, um, the institutions, procedures and standard for interviews.

So I think you can, um, assume that if they’re requiring an interview and interview everyone, that that’s a larger part of their process. If they have optional interviews and can’t interview everyone and offer interviews to everybody who wants one, then it’s likely a little bit less, um, Weight bearing in the process.

Um, again, if it’s conducted by alums, it might be a little bit less a part of the process. Um, but you should really take advantage of this opportunity if you, um, feel like you could do well in an interview, um, to. Take that chance to demonstrate your interest again, showing up completing it is just a big step in the process, right?

That you’re willing to take the time, um, and make the commitment, um, to, uh, participate in that interview, um, shows your level of interest in the institution. Um, and it’s a great opportunity for you as a student to ask questions. So you should definitely show up to interviews with lots of questions. Um, for some admissions offices and alumni organizations, this is a way for them to keep alumni engaged in the institution as well.

So there’s kind of a benefit. To the institution too. So it’s, it’s not just necessarily about admissions, but also keeping connected to the alum of the institution, which is in, you know, the institution’s interest. Um, so there’s maybe a little bit of a side motivation there sometimes I would say. Um, and then.

The interview timing can vary. Um, sometimes, you know, admissions decisions would already be made, um, when that interview report would come in. Um, and therefore it wasn’t, you know, even being weighed as a huge part of the process. But again, maybe if you went back to that file later, because you were having to make changes, good decisions, you would see like, oh, I originally thought this now this student, um, did go through an interview and it was, uh, positive.

So maybe that. Impacts kind of my final, um, thought on if I’m gonna change that decision or not. So even though it could be a little bit later in the process until a decision is final, it could always have some impact. Um, but I would say, you know, it varies greatly depending on, um, the availability at that particular institution.

Um, so I know that’s a little bit of a complex answer, um, but you kind of have to read between the lines, um, right. Of what the admissions office is, um, saying when they’re contacting you, um, about, um, interviews about whether it’s required optional, um, strongly encouraged, not, and, and kind of. Proceed from there, but usually it’s a great opportunity for you to ask questions, learn more about the institution and demonstrate your interest.

So if you have the opportunity, um, I do recommend you taking advantage of that.

So a again, I can’t emphasize enough that that academic portion, um, is, uh, really the, the foundation for everything, the most important part of the review for the admissions officer, um, got pass that bar, um, that baseline to be considered, um, when you’re applying, you know, you’re really hoping to be in, um, the middle 50% ranges or above, um, to have a strong, um, chance at that institution.

Um, so really, um, also thinking about the context of what you’ve had available in your school, in your community, kind of have you taken advantage of those academic opportunities? That you have in front of you and I kind of done the most with what’s been available to you. So the, the academics, um, I always come back to that as, as kind of the foundation and the most important part of the review process.

So I’m gonna kind of wrap up, um, with some advice on starting the application and crafting your story, and then we will move along to questions from here. Um, so, uh, this process can be super overwhelming. There’s so many little pieces. To complete and check and, um, individual little questions to get through, um, that it really helps to prioritize, um, your list and think about, you know, working on a batch at a time, um, picking a group, that’s gonna be your early group and getting those completed and then moving on to the next.

Um, so I encourage you to prioritize and try to make a little bit of progress every day. Kind of check something off your list. Um, whether it’s a little bit of research, a little bit of writing, or just getting through those basic questions on the application, if you’re able to just. Keep making progress, um, in a priority order, you’ll get through your applications.

Um, definitely, you know, invest into your essay to, um, put it through multiple drafts to get, uh, maybe an English teacher, some outside feedback, someone who knows you always a fresh eye to look at that before you get ready to submit, but also. Overwhelm yourself with it. Um, it’s very easy to get super tied up in the personal statement, the main essay, and to get a little bit stuck there.

Um, so remember that you’ve got those other supplemental essays there and that they’re very important to the institutions that ask those questions. So make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to make that specific connection, you know, to the institution to really speak to them in those supplemental questions, because they’re equally important.

So do your best with the personal statement, but make sure to leave yourself plenty of time to get to the supplemental question. Uh, always, you know, be realistic about your list, um, what you can accomplish, think about that balance in terms of match, reach, and safe institutions on your list. And remember that there’s always time to tweak, to add and subtract to that list.

Um, as you go through fall, um, you may still, you know, be attending affairs meeting college admissions officers, maybe at your school or online. Um, so the you’ve got probably your main priorities in place, but keep an open mind, um, and leave yourself a little bit of space at the end to sit back and think, am I satisfied with how this list has balanced out and what I’ve done and what I’ve presented?

Or should I maybe. Add something more. So again, if you, um, start early, make progress, you’ll have a little bit more time to kind of take stock at the end and think about if you’ve kind of met all the boxes, um, checked all the boxes in terms of balance in your list. Um, so I definitely encourage you to, to get going early so that you have time to kind of add and subtract as you continue to learn things through the application process.

Um, finally, um, you know, use all the spaces. If you have something to say, think about how you can really maximize those different parts of the application. Sometimes there are optional things which are really tempting to skip over, but it’s another opportunity for you to tell a piece of your story to fit in, you know, that quality, maybe that hasn’t been highlighted yet.

So, um, think of every optional place as an opportunity to say something else about yourself. Um, there may be a few optional things that are, um, really specific to, um, difficult circumstances or something like that. So you don’t have to necessarily answer those, but some of the optional questions, um, I’d highly encourage you to consider if it makes sense for you, Tom, to use that opportunity.

So finally, I think we’re ready to, to see what’s on your mind. I hope that is helpful. Um, I know it’s a lot, so I hope you have some questions. If I went over anything too quickly, um, or I can clarify anything. Yes. So thank you so much for sharing this informal. I mean, this really informative information so this is the end of our presentation part of the webinar.

Um, and so just wanna just remind everyone that you can download the slides from the link in the handout tab, and now we’re gonna move on to the live Q&A. I am gonna read through the questions that you have submitted in the Q&A tab. Thank you to those who have already submitted their questions.

And then I will paste them into the public chat so that you can see them. We’ll read them out loud and then Shannon will give you the answer, um, as a heads up, if your Q&A tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, just double check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page.

All righty. So first question, if you get your application in early, does that allow for more time to be spent on your application? Hmm, that’s a good question. Uh, sometimes it might, especially in early action, um, or early decision, probably more so an early decision, uh, because it’s a more limited group of students, you know, who are willing to make that commitment and choice.

Uh, some schools do have a really large number of early action applications and so a shorter amount of time in which to review those. So it may actually end up being less time, but you’re getting, um, there kind of ahead of the line when the, uh, admissions office is still fresh, it hasn’t been, you know, bogged down.

Um, and in addition to that, you know, maybe if you get deferred from early action, then you might get looked at more times than if you applied in regular decision. Um, and they’re taking into a consideration that, um, Initiative, you show to get it in early as well, if you do get deferred and reviewed later.

Uh, so, um, it can, it could really go a lot of different ways. by getting it in early, but nonetheless, um, it’s just more about your, uh, peace of mind knowing that all of your, uh, pieces are there and complete. Um, so I could say it could go in many different directions, but it’s, it’s just in your interest to get it in early so that you can rest and know that everything is there by the deadline.

Okay, next question. Do colleges limit the number of students? It accepts from a particular high school? That’s a good question. It’s a good question. So yeah, I I’m sure that came up, um, in thinking about, you know, sitting down with all the applications from one particular high school. And, um, I wouldn’t say like I, if I was doing that, that I would stop after I got, you know, to a certain number from a particular school, um, I used to say, you know, if all the applicants from a particular school were qualified and outstanding, I would admit them all.

Um, so it depends, um, on what the whole group looks like, um, from that particular school. Um, and there is usually not a particular number that the admissions office is, is trying to reach for a certain school.

Okay. So next question. How do you choose what to focus on, um, for college applications in particular? Like how do you kind of decide on a theme? Yeah, this takes a lot of self-reflection. Uh, it’s. It can be difficult to kind of go through, um, everything you’ve done and, and think about, you know, what’s important to you.

Um, , but it really takes some looking at yourself and kind of what your qualities are. Um, oftentimes, um, although, you know, parents aren’t doing the application, it helps to talk to them a little bit about this. And, um, they often have some insights and thoughts into like who you are as a person. Your friends might help you.

Like, how would you describe me? What am, what kind of friend am I? Um, so sometimes it is really, you know, thinking hard about what’s important to you, what matters to you, what you’ve been involved in and why, and trying to bring that across in the different pieces of your application. So we often have students go through, um, some, um, questions, like a, a worksheet of, you know, What are their most important activities?

Um, what have they been? What are some stories that have been pivotal, um, in their development, um, and kind of really thinking through those high school years and, and what defines them as a person. Okay. So our next question reads, if a student does not meet the academic require. How do the other factors such as essays, activities, et cetera, compensate our make up for the academics.

So again, it’s really hard to compensate or make up for the academics unless you, uh, are meeting one of those areas of high priority for the institution. So this might be like an athletic recruit. This might be an audition for a theater or some other, you know, performing arts program. There’s gonna have to be some other, um, really, um, Significant factor to outweigh the, um, academic deficiencies.

Um, and if you meet the academic standards and have that other thing, then that’s all the better, right. Um, cuz you check the boxes easily. It’s easier for that coach to recruit you for that, um, theater professor to make the case for you if you, uh, meet both qualifications.

Okay. Um, so next question is how late are you able to apply? Like can you apply late? Yeah. Okay. So we’ll be having, um, uh, various rounds. Uh, and I think I did a whole webinar just on the different di uh, timelines and possibilities here, but there is, you know, early action and early decision, which will be starting in October, November, um, and rolling admission, which is already available, which is kind of, you can think of as sort of first come first serve.

It’s it’s always kind of going on until that class is full. Um, and rolling admission could go on, on into the spring. Um, regular decision, uh, timeline is often in January. So many of these deadlines are hard deadlines you need to get in by the deadline. Um, and the ruling admission is the one, uh, that you can often do a little bit later on into the spring.

Okay. So we’re gonna take a short pause from our Q&A for me to share an announcement with you all. So for those in the room who aren’t already working with us, we know how overwhelming the admission process can be. Our team of over 300 former admission officers and admission experts are ready to help you and your family navigated all in one on one advising sessions.

Take the next step in your college admission journey by signing up for a free 45-60 minute strategy session with an admission specialist on our team, using the QR code. Actually think after you exit the webinar, there should be a popup screen that’s gonna appear. Um, during this meeting, we will review your current extracurricular list and application strategy, discuss how they line up with your college list and outline the tools you need to stand out in a competitive admissions world.

Okay, so now let’s get back to our Q&A, as we have about five more minutes left. Uh, next question reads does playing a sport at a particular institution, um, where the coach has recruited you factor into admission decisions or is playing a sport at a school generally contingent upon getting. Okay. So yeah.

Did a webinar on this one, too. about, um, first screens, uh, for, um, uh, athletic recruits, um, for our partner company NCSA that works with, uh, prospective student athletes and at selective institutions, there’s often kind of a pre-screening that, um, applicants go through that the coach, you know, collects your transcript, your test scores and things, and gets kind of like a green light or not from the admissions office to continue recruiting you.

Um, that is like a, uh, strong indicator of what the decision will be, but not the final decision. Uh, the admissions office, you. How’s that final say in whether you are admitted and once they have your complete admissions file, you know, could potentially change, uh, what that initial read was. If there’s something, uh, unexpected in there from a teacher or a counselor or, or, you know, something they didn’t know about.

Um, so definitely have seen students who heard from the coach that they were likely admit. And then, um, the admissions office changes that decision in the end. So they, they have the prerogative to, to make that final decision. But a coach will usually work with a student to get a pretty good idea if they’re a, um, priority recruit.

Okay. So this question I think, is, um, connected to our CollegeAdvisor, um, organization. Does college coaches have a role at the admissions for the applicant during the application process? Or maybe it may not be . How do you kinda predict that question? Does college coaches have a role at the admissions for the applicant during the application process?

Okay. I’m wondering if that’s also an athletic, if they’re talking about an athletic coach athletic college coach. Um, so yeah, they will often, you know, be an advocate for that student athlete, um, and, uh, bring, you know, their name over to the admissions office and their information, um, and make sure they’re meeting all the steps of the process.

Um, and then the admissions office will usually have a liaison. With the athletic department that maybe a little bit of negotiation will go on between the two offices, um, to, you know, again, make sure the coach is making their team and make sure the, the admissions office needs to make sure they’re meeting their metrics with the whole class.

Um, so it’s kind of a, it can be a back and forth, but, um, usually a recruited athlete will work primarily with the coach, but they need to go through the whole admissions process, just like any other applicant. Okay. Can submitting SAT/ACT score significantly increase your chances of being admitted.

So this is a tough one, right? And. Uh, I was gonna say post pandemic, but it’s still like kind of the pandemic, right? We’re still going through it. And the policies have been changing. It’s been a little different every year, the availability of the SAT and ACT and individual, you know, situations. Um, so this has been a hard one, uh, and can vary by institution regionally, um, certain states, you know, statewide that’s required.

Um, so it, it can, it can vary quite a bit. Um, but generally. Yeah. If you have a great score to submit that is just solidifying, you know, your qualification and adding one more point in your favor. Um, so it shouldn’t hurt a student if, if you’re applying to an optional place, but I’m hearing all sorts of different things from students who are touring institutions and reporting back to me, you know, what they’re hearing directly from admissions officers about, we say we’re optional, but really we prefer to have that score.

Um, and other places that say we really are truly optional, but these things aren’t always really clear from websites. Um, sometimes it’s worth a call to talk to an admissions officer, um, and hear their words, their tone, their phrasing, when they explain this, um, to you individually. Um, so for your top institutions, uh, it wouldn’t hurt to, you know, just get on the phone and call and, and ask, you know, what do you really think about if this I have this score, should I submit it, below the range above the range?

Would it help? Would it hurt? And they should be willing to, to talk you through that a little. Okay, so that is actually gonna conclude our question answers. Thank you to everyone who submitted your questions. We actually are. Now at the end of our webinar, we had a really great time sharing with you all about, you know, more about how admission officers review applications.

Thank you, Shannon, for sharing with us all this great information. And also just to let you all know, we do have a series of additional webinars that we are gonna be offering this month. So please join us in our upcoming webinar with that. Have a great night. Thanks everyone. Those are some of the best questions.

Yes, they were really great questions. Thank you, Shannon. Have a great night. Bye Lonnie. Bye.