When you apply to a highly selective college, you may wonder how many admissions officers actually review your application. We’ve discussed this a number of times before on our admissions blog but an article published a couple of days ago in “The Washington Post” sheds some good insight that we figured we’d share. In an article entitled “One and done: Many applications to selective colleges just get a single read” written by Nick Anderson, Anderson discusses how applications that make a clear case for admission or denial are often only reviewed by one reader, before being sent for sign-off to the dean of admissions. At some highly selective colleges, it doesn’t even go to the dean of admissions for sign-off on applicants to deny. A straight ‘D’ student who served time in prison and plays the violin averagely (sorry, we write about college admissions every day so need to add a little humor) isn’t going to get into Stanford. This application doesn’t need a committee to decide the outcome. That would be a waste of time.
As written in Anderson’s piece on college admissions evaluations, “[Jon] Reider, [a former senior admissions officer at Stanford], said the volume of applications at many elite schools — there were about 39,000, for example, at Stanford for a fall 2013 freshman class of about 1,675 — means that admissions officers must triage. Reider said some files are read once, receive a denial recommendation and are never looked at again. Others get a quick yes on first read, with high ratings of an applicant’s academic potential and personal qualities. ‘We called it the jump for joy,’ Reider said. When a case was clear-cut, he said, the reader would just ‘put those through’ for a sign-off from the dean of admissions.
Are you surprised that some applications are only reviewed by one admissions officer in spite of all of the hard work (or not so hard work) that you put into your application? Do Jon Reider’s comments surprise you? If so, let us know why. We’re curious to hear your thoughts.