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Colleges Ask Applicants For More While Reading Applications Less

Dave_BerryDave_Berry CC Admissions Expert Posts: 2,742 Senior Member
"It still seems like a cheat to insist that students do more and more to qualify for admission while paring evaluations to a bare minimum for the benefit of the admission staff ... My response to all those put-upon staffers: Boo-hoo. If you feel overwhelmed during reading season, you should realize it comes with the territory." ...


Replies to: Colleges Ask Applicants For More While Reading Applications Less

  • SoxDogSoxDog Registered User Posts: 40 Junior Member
    From the article:
    More recently, a Wall Street Journal article boiled it all down to this headline: "Some Elite College Review an Application in 8 Minutes (or Less)."

    Just ... wow.
  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 8,366 Senior Member
    @pantha33m , I guarantee if you are applying to a college like Stanford and you submit four terrible essays, they will notice. You will not get in, barring being hooked. The. Most selective colleges will read the essay and will care about it.
  • pantha33mpantha33m Registered User Posts: 251 Junior Member
    edited February 26
    @Lindagaf They will read your essays IF they get to them - if your grades and scores are higher than whatever big data-sorting algorithm the school uses to eliminate the thousands of applicants with zero chance. And if you have that level of achievement I doubt very much your essays will be “terrible”.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 29,997 Senior Member
    Just how much "easier" do you think it should be for applicants? Lol. A kid is applying to a top college, tens of thousands of candidates, and either puts forth a good app/supp or not. It's on him. High school performance is zero prediction this will be done well. Absolutely, you can produce top grades in hs, run some club, and still produce a poor overall presentation, including writing. Or more. And yes, experienced readers, same folks who've been reviewing the good and the not good, can spot this. It's a competition.

    But 8 minutes, while it catches attention in yet another media article, doesn't reflect what the kids with solidly done apps get. And a dual simultaneous read (stats and qualitatives) allows more immediate conversation. Plus it's first read or first cut. Not the only review. If you don't like being up against tens of thousands of other great kids, if it's too much, vote with your feet.

    Notice this author refers to his experience in the 90's. He's one of those "counselors" purporting to have some inside view. Oh yeah right, pay him.
  • 1NJParent1NJParent Registered User Posts: 578 Member
    As acceptance rates at elite colleges continue to drop, applicants have to apply to more and more colleges to increase the odds of acceptance, unless they're accepted in the EA/ED round. How much time do we expect each applicant to spend on his/her application, if s/he has to apply to a dozen or more colleges (there's a thread of applicants applying to 30+ colleges)? And that number will only increase year after year. And you can't blame the applicants. There's something seriously wrong with the current process. Colleges with holistic review process won't have the resources to read the applications either (many public universities with large number of applications have either never started or have given up on the holistic reviews). College application is also not akin to a job application. In college application, an applicant can only apply to a very limited number of colleges, because s/he can't send more or less the same application to each college. Almost every highly selective private college wants the applicant to write something (sometimes a lot) specific to that college. Why do they do that? Because each of them is concerned about yield. They want the applicant to show them s/he really wants to go to their colleges and would attend if accepted.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 29,997 Senior Member
    They don't have to apply to more and more, not when it means 16-20 or more. They do need- especially when they want a top college- to understand what matters, versus what's high school glory. This is about what the college wants to see, not what makes the high school staff happy. Not writing out a brag sheet for the people who've known you 3.5 years. It's a competition, (a contest of sorts. Adult strangers reviewing you for their school.) Of course, you need to be on your game.

    They need to be able to see and show their match. That's not as simple as filling out the lines and thinking, Presto!, they're done. The process of learning and thinking should start well before they ever pull up the Common App (or other.) And if they don't have time for this, it's not on the colleges to simplify or drop holistic.

    It's not all about yield. Sometimes, I think that's the simplistic "them vs us" answer. An applicant interested enough to apply should know how they match and why they want this target, beyond that it's a top college or they have your program or you want xxx future career. They should have some idea what matters to that college, beyond grades, scores, rank, and a few activities. It's not "yield" to expect Johnny or Mary has taken a deep look and thought carefully. Not when thoudands of other kids have done this and are in the same line.

    To me, that's part of applying to a highly competitive college, if you can't do it, you revise your goals.
    And yes, adcoms know what their colleges like and want. If it's not there, an additional hour perusing the app/supp won't work any magic.
  • billcshobillcsho Registered User Posts: 18,405 Senior Member
    edited February 27
    A few years ago when there were only around 50,000 applications at UMich, they had 50-60 readers according to a news article interviewing the adcom.
  • melvin123melvin123 Registered User Posts: 1,328 Senior Member
    Guess your essay's first sentence has got to be a good one.

    Since the colleges charge application fees, why aren't those fees used to hire more readers?
  • SoxDogSoxDog Registered User Posts: 40 Junior Member
    I think this was pointed out in an earlier post in this thread, but the colleges probably "weed out" 1/4 to 1/3 (??) of the applicants based on grades and scores. Those might get rejected right away or their essays might get a quick skim while the more qualified and realistic candidates would get well over the "8 minute average".
    Just a guess.
  • billcshobillcsho Registered User Posts: 18,405 Senior Member
    At UMich around 10% of application got screened by the first readers and they proceed with around 90% of them.
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