How Do Colleges Make Admission Decisions?
We’ve all heard of that star student, with the perfect grades and outstanding test scores, who didn’t make it into their top choice school. Such situations can spark speculation: Is college admission just a matter of numbers, with the best schools simply running out of spots for terrific candidates? Or is there something else going on here? How do colleges make admission decisions, anyway?
Ivy Coach’s founder, Bev Taylor, actually wrote an in-depth article to explain this very issue to students and parents. While academics are certainly a leading factor in the decision process, admissions counselors also carefully weigh other criteria, such as:
- Talent, and how a student can contribute that talent to the campus
- Legacy, since alumni donations are indeed important
- Development – it is difficult to deny entry to an applicant whose family has pledged money to help build the new library
- Ethnicity, to racially balance the incoming class
- Geographic factors, to encourage diversity
- Socioeconomic factors, again to encourage diversity
- Early Decision or Early Action status – pledging to attend, if accepted, helps the school streamline their admissions process
- Interest Quotient, or how much interest a student has demonstrated in the school
- Declared major, and competition within that candidate pool
- Essays, which can often be the deciding factor
To sum up, yes grades and test scores matter. They matter quite a lot! But admission decisions are also based upon the student’s character, uniqueness, demonstrated interest in learning, enthusiasm for the school, and some factors which are beyond the individual’s control. We definitely recommend that students and their parents carefully research how these factors can influence the admissions process, and use any strengths to their full advantage.
If you have any questions, please give us a call and set up an appointment.