College Admissions Secrets.

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I’ve been meaning to write about the secrets of college admissions, an oft-recurring theme in college information, whether it’s online (see Google screen shot at left) or on the cover of a book.

Here’s my perspective:  there aren’t nearly as many secrets as there are details to be uncovered. About uncovering those details…

  • Admissions counselors commonly complain about students and parents asking questions that can easily be answered with a look at the college admissions website.
  • Students and parents looking at a number of admissions websites need to decipher each site’s system of presenting comparable information.
  • Admissions counselors respond to myth and misinformation on a regular basis.
  • Finally, students (and parents) have been known to share misinformation from word of mouth sources rather than attempting to verify facts with the college.

Here are a couple of admissions counselors’ posts that are worth reading. The first, written by Dean J at the University of Virginia Admissions blog, Notes from Peabody, addresses UVa Admission and regional quotas, a huge topic of discussion among Virginia students and parents. [I wrote in the summer about Virginia’s public universities and one legislator’s problem with their admissions policies here.]

The second post, a much longer one written last January by Daniel Creasey, Associate Director for Admissions at Johns Hopkins University, addresses the use of College Confidential for student research:  The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of College Confidential. About this:

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Il Buono, il B...

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Il Buono, il Brutto, il Cattivo.) (Image via

  1. If you haven’t taken a look at College Confidential yet, do so to see what he is writing about.
  2. Creasey’s long, thoughtful discourse on College Confidential actually provides a great deal of information on how one particular admissions officer sees his role, how JHU approaches the admissions process, and what any student or parent can do to learn more about what a university seeks in their prospects.

You hear all the time that the admissions review process has become holistic and the application reviews are much more comprehensive than ever before. Fit matters more now than it did in the past. Our decisions are not based on things one can post on a chances thread, unless that student posts every part of their application and that it is posted in the context of the full application pool that cycle. I find it funny that members of College Confidential find the assessing of another member’s chances so easy, especially with such little information to go on. Basically that means my ten-plus years of experience in this profession don’t really matter in the determination of who gets in to Hopkins.

Finally, back to secrets, here’s one more administrator’s view:

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Filed under Getting In

8 responses to “College Admissions Secrets.

  1. Pingback: Colleges and Social Media

  2. Thanks for this post. So often college admissions comes down not only to fit but the ability of the student to prove that they understand why School A is for them. Aristotle Circle expert Keith London suggests showing a school what you can offer them right now – your extracurricular strengths and how they apply to the school.

    Read his advice here:

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