College Admission Guide
“The object of education is to prepare the young to educate
themselves throughout their lives.” ~Robert Maynard Hutchins
As you may have already gathered, the college admission process is a two-way street. You are looking to make the best decision for you and the college is looking to make the best decision for them. The admission process is far more than just an application from you; rather, it is a holistic view of you, your character, aspirations, work-ethic, and determination to succeed.
The applications have migrated from a paper-based model to an on-line model in the last decade. In fact, in the NACAC’s latest study the percent of on-line applications now exceeds 90% of all applications submit. In the end, the admissions team will look for core pieces you need to understand:
Application: The application is the nuts and bolts about you, as a person. It will include personal information along with a biography of who you say you are as a person. Most applications have essays embedded within the application that offer you the platform to dive into your unique strengths, experiences, abilities, talents, weaknesses, and skills.
Standardized Tests: It is well-known that standardized tests have come under great a great deal of scrutiny in the last few years. That being said, the college admission team may apply a weighted average with the other pieces of your submission or discount the need for the standardized test entirely. That being said, if a college requires you to take a standardized test, it will be used during the evaluation process. A generally accepted belief is that larger colleges and universities rely more on the raw scores themselves to help determine admissions; while smaller schools apply greater emphasis on the other pieces of the process. That being said, an exceptional standardized test score does not ensure admission to the school of your choosing nor does an average score exclude you from certain programs. Your grades will carry a significant weight during the evaluation process so continue to work hard to maintain solid grades at every turn.
Teacher Recommendation: The college admissions committee will place weight on teacher recommendations as these often describe intangible, humanistic traits that are not always captured by a raw grade. Teachers will often illuminate personal characteristics, traits, classroom contributions, attunement, and respect that a letter/number grade simply cannot capture.
Academic Record: A highly critical portion of the process is your academic record, also known as your transcript. This is a summation of the classes you have taken along with the grade(s) earned for each respective class. Your grades, curriculum, and courses are assessed by the college admission team to ensure a deep understanding of your effort and ability in the classroom. When a class ranking system is not utilized by a high school, the GPA will be used in its stead to help gauge classroom acuity. Additionally, it is important to note the college admission team does take into account extracurricular activities, volunteering, memberships, and civic involvement in the process to round out the holistic process.
School Recommendation: The official recommendation curated by your school can be an important piece of the puzzle yet will remain a secondary factor behind your performance in the classroom.
Remember, you are unique. There is no one on earth exactly like you & this needs to be translated to any group that has a hand in deciding your academic future. Most things you do have a relative importance in this process – the work you do for non-profits, volunteering, sports, clubs, memberships, leadership traits, work, reading, writing, hiking, running, caring for a grandparent, honors awards, church participation, family traditions, baby-sitting, and goals you are particularly proud of accomplishing. All these items roll up into a holistic understanding of you.
Supply and Demand in Higher Education
It is important to understand the law of supply and demand with respect to the college admission process. When a school has a small number of students to accept compared to a large number of applicants, they can be (much more) selective. In addition to the sheer volume of applicants, the college admission team will shift to subjective personal traits when the applications are exceedingly similar. Thus, the need to spend quality time building an academic portfolio along with quality time illuminating you as a unique being with qualities and interest different from another applicant.
Difference Between Public and Private Colleges
College-type differences. It is worth noting that certain colleges and universities are required to give preference to state residents (presuming they apply before the cut-off date); while community colleges have an open admission policy and accept in-state and out-of-state applicants. In the end, the college admission team must do their best to select qualified applicants based on the schools admission criteria.
You may get in the school of your choice or you may not. Plan on doing deep investigation of a few schools and apply to more than one institution to help with the decision making process. There will be frustrations and anxiety along the way but know that proper planning will mitigate many of these feelings of self-doubt and increase your chances of getting into a great college.
Find Private Colleges by State
Students looking for school-specific information from private colleges and universities can quickly gather admissions information, financial aid trends, tuition, enrollment data, and much more with MatchCollege. Our dedicated school pages have helped millions of students every year understand details about a private college in a specific state. Leverage this information to get the most from our digital library & increase your odds of admissions to the school(s) of your choosing.
Find Public Universities by State
Students looking to gather admissions information from state universities and public colleges can find information on our dedicated state pages. Public universities offer students access to some of the best minds and research-based colleges in the world. In-state residents enjoy the tuition discounts offered by state-funded universities as a benefit of residing in that state. Quickly find state universities that fit your goals and budget by selecting the states that interest you most.
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