Admission Secrets

What Does a University Want?

Dec 14 2021


Ever wondered how top universities accept or reject your application? Who takes the call and what do you need to get through? This post has answers to all your questions.

What Does a University Want? - First Academy

What's the job like?

The admissions officers who sit together in have the most unpleasant jobs: dashing the dreams of applicants to a university. They spend an average of about 10 minutes on each application that has made it to their desks and  push it into one of the three piles.

  1. Waitlist - a pile which means more work for them
  2. Admit - which means the candidate's dreams have been answered
  3. Deny - the option that everyone hates

The decision, like most decisions these day are reliant on Excel. All the candidates details are on the excel sheet. The pre-admissions team looks at the basic requirements and sends all candidates that match the requirements to the officers who take the final call.

When a candidate is waitlisted, the officers then come together for a vote before deciding on the candidates fate.

What's on the Excel-sheet?

The excel document essentially a grouped version of the candidates career. But there are a few columns that take precedence over the others. There are the usual suspects like grades, SAT or GRE scores, and Extra curricular activities, but there are others too. So what are the other things that these officers look at?

  1. Alumni Recommendation - do you have a recommendation from someone who studied at that school?
  2. Alumni Children - Are your parents from that school?
  3. Recommenders Credentials - How good is your recommender?
  4. Recommender Relevance - How relevant is the recommendation
  5. Extracurricular Activity - How much and how relevant

These are in no specific order, but they do make a difference. But more importantly, does your application have a bright spot? Sometimes, your application might be rejected if it is dull. So it is important to ensure that you have a bright spot in your application.

What is a Bright Spot?

Obviously your academics matter quite a bit, but that is not the beginning and the end. There are a lot of others things US colleges/universities look for in a potential student.

  1. How will you add value to the institute - could you become the future president, for instance?
  2. How good is your work experience - have you established a thriving business / are a CEO / entrepreneur?
  3. Did you something remarkable? - Save a bunch of people / won a medal of valour / Provided drinking water in a desert
  4. Do you have a killer GRE+AWA Score?

These are some of the things that you need to keep in mind. Remember, good scores are important, but most candidates applying to top schools already have great scores, so you will need to do something else to stand out.

Do I have to be unique?

There are about 5000 admits into top universities each year. It is obvious that not everyone is going to be unique. If you are unique, that's great, but it is not a prerequisite for you to getting into universities. You will only need to present your case in the best way possible. There are several way you can do it:

  1. Early application
  2. Great Personal Statement
  3. Clear, focused answers to any application questions
  4. Good Recommendations from appropriate recommenders
  5. Understanding of the course and its requirements
  6. Meeting those requirements - academically and otherwise

Final Words

It is not easy by any stretch to get into top universities, but remember that it is not impossible either. There is a line of difference between difference between being impossible and being difficult and most of life is in between those lines.

However, having a hand that guides can sometimes changes the way things go. If you wish to talk to someone about the application process and get sensible advice, you just need to click here!

A Note About Us

First Academy - Established 2001

First Academy

Established in 2001, First Academy has been consistently been the most awarded and the most acclaimed test prep company in India. University admission partner of over 30,000 successful applicants from all over the world.

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