7 things college admissions officers wish every applicant knew


If you’re planning on going to college, you’re probably already stressing about the college application – and we don’t blame you. This one application will determine the rest of your life (no pressure), and you have to fit your whole life and academic achievements in just one 12-15 page application. I mean, what the heck?! Although prospective students often get help from their schools in terms of the application, they never truly know what goes on in the minds of those who work in the admissions office. That is, until now. Here are the 7 things college admissions officers wish every applicant knew…

It’s got to be short and sweet

A college admissions evaluator at Brown University has noted that they are expected to read a whopping five applications per hour and make a decision. This means that each application receives around 12 minutes of interest – before they move onto the next one. 12 minutes to read a personal statement, review test scores and check out your transcript is not a lot of time, so you need to make an impression…and fast.

It’s not all about your grades…

Most people believe that achieving top grades will offer them a free pass to any college of their choice, but it just doesn’t work that way. In fact, it’s so much more than that. The college admissions team actually track students’ and their parents’ interactions with the college. This means that every email you or your family sent is analyzed, and every phone call you ever make is dissected. Although you may have been the top honor student in your school, one rude comment on the phone or through email could drastically affect your chances.

7 things college admissions officers wish every applicant knew

You HAVE to be different

When the college admissions evaluators at Stanford are looking through their applications, they often mark them with the acronym ‘SP’ – which stands for ‘Standard Positive.’ These are the kind of applications that have perfect test scores and a perfectly-written statement, but hasn’t bowled them over. In fact, they normally have a whole host of them already on the pile! It’s your job to be different and stand out from the crowd.

There is always a chance you might not get a place

Unfortunately, nobody is guaranteed a place at college. While you may have an outstanding track record and a perfect application, a decision cannot be made before the Dean of Admissions starts to put together the class. Depending on the number of applications and the standard of applications, there is always a chance you might not get a place. Yet, don’t let this stop you from pushing yourself during the application process.

Your personality counts

Although you might not notice it, your personality really comes across in your writing – which means that your college application is a good insight into what you’re like in person. If you sound too arrogant, rude, selfish or entitled within your college application, it may affect your chances. Although the college wants students who will push themselves in higher education, they also want people who will add something to their ethos and their college environment!

7 things college admissions officers wish every applicant knew

Always try to get an interview

There’s only so much college application evaluators can tell from you on paper, which is why getting an interview is a huge advantage during your application process. This way, you can really show off your personality and go into more detail about your achievements and what you want to gain from your time at college. This might even push you into the ‘yes’ pile.

Ask questions during your interview

When you go for a job interview, you’re expected to ask at least one question – so why treat a college interview any differently? Even though you may already know a lot of the information from the college website, asking questions shows that you are not only interacting with the interviewers, but also interacting with the school, their mission, and what you can gain from them. So, ask away!

Completing your college application is something that we all dread, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as it seems. In fact, follow these rules and all you’ll have to do is keep your fingers crossed!