Admissions Officers Spending Less Time on College Applications
College admissions officers are spending less time reviewing college applications. Admissions officers, working in teams of two, are moving from spending 12 to 15 minutes with an application to just four to six.
As colleges face surges in applications, they have been forced to re-evaluate how to vet applicants. According to a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, admissions officers can churn through as many as 15 applications in an hour, up from four or five.
“We were reading on weekends, reading in the evenings,” Yvonne Romero da Silva, vice dean and director of admissions at the University of Pennsylvania, told the Chronicle. “We needed a more sustainable model.”
The University of Pennsylvania is one of several colleges that have moved to a team approach to the admissions process. The university now checks whether an applicant fits a certain set of academic criteria while taking the applicant’s voice and tone into account. The team discusses the applicant and a decision is made whether the applicant is a good fit. The focus has shifted from writing long summaries of applications to triaging the candidates. The university says its process is both more efficient and results in admitting a well-rounded freshman class.
This process, however, could explain why admissions have become more unpredictable. Applications that include extra material could bog down the process or be glossed over, not taking a student’s full abilities into account. Subtle details are likely to be missed by admissions officers. Students should amend their application process to fit the new college application model.
Essays need stronger hooks and students have to be impressive in a more succinct manner than in the past. Essays also need to be clear and make a point in the first few paragraphs or a student could face being wait-listed or rejected.
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