One of the best ways to understand what colleges are looking for in prospective students is to look at what the colleges say on this issue. Here we have compiled several insider views of what is important in the college admissions process from the very people who decide who gains admission to their college. 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.
Inside College Admissions at Lehigh
Philly.com has published “Making the grade: Inside the college admissions process” which takes a look behind the scenes at admissions decisions being made at Lehigh University.
Inside the College Admissions Process
The website for The Today Show has an article entitled “Inside the College Admissions Process“. This article discusses admissions at Grinnell College with its director of admissions, Seth Allen. There is also an accompanying video.
4 Secrets to Winning Admission to an Affordable ‘Pubic Ivy’
Theodore Spencer, the director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Michigan, discusses what selective colleges are looking at in making admissions decisions.
Insight into the college admissions process from the Dean of Admissions at Pomona College.
Bruce Poch, the Dean of Admissions at Pomona College in Claremont, California, recently responded to questions about college admissions from Newsweek readers. Pomona College is a selective college and is a part of the Claremont Colleges, a consortium of 5 excellent colleges. Although Mr. Poch did not say any thing too surprising, it is always helpful for students and their parents to read what an insider to the selective college admissions process has to say about their world.
Vanderbilt University admissions video
The Dean of Admissions at Vanderbilt University, a highly selective university in Nashville, is shown in a video entitled “Getting into College: An Insider’s Guide”. The Dean answers questions on such topics as how to get into a good college, the importance of extracurricular activities, preparing the college essay, whether to take AP classes, how colleges evaluated different high schools, financial aid issues, the costs of private colleges, how colleges consider admissions of students, who should write letters of recommendations and how to sound your best on your college application. This video is a must view for all students but particularly those looking at selective college admissions.
Vanderbilt also had an article on college admissions in the Spring 2007 issue of Vanderbilt Magazine.
Behind the scenes look at financial aid.
US News recently had the opportunity to sit in one some financial aid decisions at Pomona College.
For people not familiar with the process this is an interesting look behind the scenes. The most interesting note to me in the article was the comment that in person appeals are particularly persuasive.
A note of caution, however, lest you believe that financial aid is this accommodating at all colleges. As noted in the article Pomona has a very large endowment per student and can afford to be generous with their financial aid packages. Most schools outside of the highly selective colleges will not meet the full need of each of their students. Moreover, I doubt that most colleges would adjust down a parents stated assets even if the parent were too optimistic in valuing property.