Yesterday, we discussed an article in “The Washington Post” about what it means to go to committee in selective and highly selective college admissions. Basically, applicants who are on the fence of getting in are sent to committee. If a student has no shot of getting in, she isn’t going to be sent to committee. If a student is a lock for admission, he isn’t going to be sent to committee either. We shared some tidbits from the article in “The Washington Post” yesterday and offered some analysis. Let’s now share some more tidbits and analysis for our loyal readers.
Here’s how one admissions officer at George Washington University presented a candidate at committee, as reported by “The Washington Post”: “What I like about [the student] is that he seems comfortable and confident in himself. I always find that to be appealing. He has a passion for something. Test scores are okay, not extraordinary, but what gave me pause with him was his rigor. I wish he had taken harder courses in high school. But still, he is at the top of the class and has strong interests, based on his essay and his visit. I was inclined to admit.” This is an example of how test scores aren’t the be all and end all. Students with perfect SAT scores are denied admission at Harvard every year. Students have to stand out in other ways, too. This applicant’s essay helped his case for admission as did his visit to the school (it demonstrates that he’s likely to matriculate should he be admitted).
And here’s another tidbit from “The Washington Post”: “Student ‘sits close to the bottom of the applicants from his school in terms of GPA, although his results are relatively consistent as a B student. I double-checked the grade distribution for the classes where it looks like [he] struggled, and his grades were below the vast majority of his peers in those same courses. Additionally, his ‘Why GW’ essay was pretty bland. . . . I recommend deny.” No kidding. We’re curious why this particular applicant ended up at committee anyway. His grades are subpar and he’s got a bland essay. He doesn’t exactly sound like a student any admissions officer in their right mind will go to bat for. Because in order to get in at committee, admissions officer(s) need to go to bat for students. They need to have a compelling case for admission. Great college essays can help make that possible.