Admissions officers spend a lot of time talking about the “holistic reading process.” For many high school seniors, this often seems like a strategy we employ to avoid talking about what counts “most” and what counts “least” in your college application. I sympathize with your frustration, and while I refuse to tell you there’s anything that counts “most” or “least” (these things truly don’t exist) I will admit that there are things that matter enough that sometimes I see them make a committee cringe. So I thought I’d demystify them for you. Here are five things that make admissions officers groan… things that, while they never act alone in being a “deal breaker,” can sometimes make a “Deny” decision come faster or more definitively:
There you have it – if you can avoid the five things above, you have given yourself the best possible shot in the college admissions process. None of these things are going to guarantee a “No” decision from a school, but they are the five things I have seen most often deflate a room full of admissions officers in committee. Now I want you to think about all the things you thought were deal-breakers. One bad test that you’re afraid we’ll see even though we say we superscore, the fact that we didn’t get that fourth letter of recommendation you meant to send, or the fact that the limited space on the Activities list didn’t allow you to list a few clubs you were part of in ninth grade. If you are worried about something, and it doesn’t appear above, chances are we don’t give it a second thought, and neither should you.
Photo by Alex Proimos via Flickr