Have you ever wondered how college admission committees decide who gets accepted? Are you curious about which essay topics are best? Which applicant would you give an offer to if you are an admission officer? On Wednesday, March 24th, the College Counseling Office hosted the Junior College Planning Day to answer these questions and give an inside look into the selective college admissions process.
The event started with a Keynote address by Mr. Shawn Abbott, vice-provost of admission from Temple University, who explained the college admission process from the view of a college commissioner and offered students a chance to learn about the decision-making process on the side of the universities.
During the speech, a phrase was emphasized multiple times: holistic view. In the setting of college admission, a holistic view represents the attitude of evaluating the student based on multiple aspects and not rejecting them solely based on one “fail” – most commonly referring to a comparatively low grade on standardized tests or GPA.
With this introduction of holistic view, students began to understand the full spectrum on how their application will be judged, and that one grade below their expectation will not hinder them from entering their desired schools.
“Having that fun human interaction with one of the people who reads through applications conveyed the humanity behind admissions and that there are people with their own lives looking at our applications instead of just a towering and intimidating institution looking down upon us and quantifying our worth as humans,” said Eric Kempson ‘22.
Students were divided into different breakout rooms hosted by admission officers from colleges around the country, including: Lafayette College, Northeastern University, University of Miami, Bryn Mawr College, University of Toronto (Canada), Dickinson College, Morgan State University, Elon University and University of Massachusetts (Amherst). In each breakout room, three mock student profiles were presented to the admission “committee,” which consisted of students, and the committee needed to decide who gets accepted, denied, and waitlisted.
Students were able to discuss their decisions with actual admission officers and gain insights about their thought process when making a decision. During the final discussion by the big group, admission officers also emphasized an important aspect of their decisions: Is the student the best fit for the school? Even if a student has good performance in high school, officers wouldn’t give out an offer if they think this student does not “vibe” with their colleges or does not express a strong desire of joining their communities.
“The most interesting [part] is definitely the last part where we shared what each group decided. While many groups have a consensus, there are also groups with totally different opinions/conclusions. I think it really shows how everybody has their strong suit[s] and some weaknesses that will be viewed differently depending on the admission officers or schools,” said Grace Zhao ‘22.
College might be one of the most essential stages for one’s development as both a student and, most importantly, a person. A good and suitable school might provide students a chance to meet mentors and friends who would have a huge impact on their lives. Therefore, choosing and writing applications for colleges should be done with careful examination and thorough research. Such an event hosted by the College Counseling office provided students an opportunity to learn about this important and complex process from an uncommon perspective. With this experience, Hun students can recognize which school is the most suitable and beneficial for their future development, not only as a student but also as a “holistic” person.
“I felt very distant from it since I didn’t know what is going-on in [the] college application process in detail. But now, I feel more confident that I can go through this process smoothly, and show the best I can,” commented Sunho Park ’22.