Welcome back!!! In this week's post I've brought in an expert in the wonderful world of Admissions. After spending 35 years in academia spanning from Director of Curriculum for Charlotte Mecklenburg, Director of Teaching, Learning, and Technology at The College of Charleston, to Director of Admissions at Providence Day School, Dr. Susan Beattie is able to provide a unique insight into the admissions process.
How Does the College Admissions Process Work?
It depends on which school you ask!!!
If you are the parents of a student in high school, there have likely been several discussions about “college admissions”! You’ve wondered - What is the process? How does it work? What does my child need to do to get accepted? And so your family is on the journey to have their son or daughter get accepted by the “college of their choice’”.
A question that families may not think to ask is about the process that happens inside the college admissions office. HOW do they select the applicants that they do? WHY do they choose the applicants they do? Do all admissions committees operate the same way?
As a former Director of Admissions of a K-12 school in Charlotte NC, I can give you some insight into our admissions process.
Educational institutions are different from one other. The differences may be minor or substantial. Some colleges are recognized for their excellence in math and engineering, innovative technology, medical research, a great journalism reputation, or a great athletics program, etc. The admissions process is integral in building and maintaining the school’s mission statement and what makes them “different” from other schools.
Now let’s sit at the table with the Admissions Committee:
Colleges receive a significantly larger number of applications than they can accept, due to limited instructional space and personnel. As a result, the admissions committee reviews thousands of applications, searching for applicants who are most likely to excel academically and flourish in their “different” college environment.
The following table shows the number of applications received, acceptances offered and the final enrollment numbers for 6 random colleges in the southeast.
The Admissions Committee reviews the following:
In my experience, while test scores are very important, they are not always the sole determinant of an acceptance. When students have ‘similar’ test scores, the student’s additional accomplishments (in school, the community, or church) can have a critical impact for one student over another. So don’t be shy in telling the admissions committee who you are and the things you’ve done that make you different and desirable!
There is no right or wrong answer to the following question…. but if you had only one spot open, which student would get your vote? The “difference” between schools might cause the admissions committee to vote one way versus the other.
So while the discussions around your dinner table have been about the colleges that are the best match for your child, there will be similar discussions around the admissions conference table this fall about which applicants are the best match for their school.
My hope is that every student finds a college that wants you as much as you want them!!!