UCLA recently allowed a reporter from the Los Angeles Times to sit in on a training session for admissions readers. New training was required after UCLA decided to take a more holistic approach to admissions.
This article from the LA Times allows a student to have a small look into what occurs in the admissions office when decisions are being made.
To see the full article, go to the LA Times. UPDATE. Unfortunately, this article is no longer available.
There have been several other colleges that have allowed reporters access to the admissions process. In June 2004, Amherst College allowed a reporter from PBS to be involved in the process.
In 1998 the University of Pennsylvania allowed a reporter from the Christian Science Monitor to sit in on admissions decisions.
Each of these articles can be helpful for a student wondering what actually occurs when a college makes decisions on who to admit. What each of these articles reflect is a honest attempt by all of the parties involved in choosing a freshman class to balance the needs of the college with the many talented students that apply to selective colleges each year.