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Admission Officers Reveal the Most Important Factors Driving Decisions

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Replies to: Admission Officers Reveal the Most Important Factors Driving Decisions

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 72,151 Senior Member
    The SAT2 people are going to hate this - it's close to the least important factor out there.

    SAT subject scores are probably relatively high in importance (as academic credentials) at the few colleges that use them -- but most colleges do not use them at all.
  • CenterCenter Registered User Posts: 2,240 Senior Member
    Problem is that grade inflation is through the roof everywhere: so schools starting putting more weight on the SAT ad then the SAT2s to validate grades and competence but then the scores get in the way of admissions and their need to bend the bar fr so many various pools of applicants. The more subjective it is, the easier it is to hide whats happening. It can never again be only grades because they really dont mean much anymore.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 29,950 Senior Member
    But this is a time when so many colleges, including some fine ones, are going test optional. And grades are what they are. It can be pretty obvious that some under-resurced high school with a minor percent of kids off to four year colleges may have grade inflation (versus themost competitive hs.) But there's a lot more seen in the app that can indicate academic, intellectual, and self-advocacy strengths. And LoRs and choice of ECs can be indicative.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 72,151 Senior Member
    Center wrote:
    Problem is that grade inflation is through the roof everywhere: so schools starting putting more weight on the SAT ad then the SAT2s to validate grades and competence

    A more cynical view is that some colleges overemphasize the SAT/ACT (not the subject tests) because the SAT/ACT is the most important factor in the selectivity portion of the USNWR rankings.
  • TS0104TS0104 Registered User Posts: 431 Member
    The Georgetown dean of admissions said in the info session that their research has shown that SAT II scores were the strongest predictor of success for their students! Interesting. So I'm guessing they weigh it pretty highly! But I do think that when you are looking at a survey, it would fall down low because many of the schools surveyed don't see them.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 29,950 Senior Member
    Fitzsimmons, of Harvard, said that several years ago. However, more recently, he's been quieter about it. IIRC.
  • Data10Data10 Registered User Posts: 2,481 Senior Member
    edited November 16
    Agreed. One thing is clear...grades and test scores first and always have been. The rest is subjective.
    It depends on the college. We tend to focus on highly selective private colleges on this website. However, very few of the surveyed colleges were highly selective. Instead 84% of the surveyed colleges said accept the majority of applicants. Highly selective private colleges tend to be more holistic than less selective colleges and publics. When you have far more highly academically qualified applicants than you could possibly accept, you tend to pay more attention to less academic holistic criteria. And when you are a less selective applicants who doesn't have enough academically qualified applicants to fill the matriculation slots, you tend to pay less attention to holistic criteria, like ECs. Also note that among the surveyed less selective colleges, 18% said test scores had no importance or limited importance, and >90% said SAT II had no importance or limited importance. I expect the number is greater, among to test optional applicants or applicants with near guaranteed admission based on non-score criteria. There is by no means a universal consensus. Instead many colleges emphasize different criteria than the average from the survey..
  • Waiting2exhaleWaiting2exhale Registered User Posts: 2,641 Senior Member
    Demonstrated interest, I feel, simply should not be a factor in whether a student is evaluated positively for college admission.
  • TimeUpJuniorTimeUpJunior Registered User Posts: 172 Junior Member
    I agree with @data10 on his take. For the super selective private schools, the list is actually upside down with ECs, teacher's recommendations, and essays at the top, while SAT/ACT scores and GPA at the bottom.
  • Data10Data10 Registered User Posts: 2,481 Senior Member
    edited November 16
    I agree with @data10 on his take. For the super selective private schools, the list is actually upside down with ECs, teacher's recommendations, and essays at the top, while SAT/ACT scores and GPA at the bottoml.
    I agree that ECs, LORs, essays, and other more holistic non-stat criteria tend to be more important at highly selective colleges than at less selective colleges. However, this does not mean SAT/ACT and GPA are at the bottom. For example, HS transcript tends to be especially important at highly selective colleges with holistic admissions, which includes grades/GPA.
  • PossePopsPossePops Registered User Posts: 25 Junior Member
    edited November 16
    I think we are saying the same thing in different ways. You are not going to an Ivy with a 3.0 and a 1000 SAT. All things being equal (ie comparing 4.0 GPA/1500 SATers), an elite is going to look at other things. I can only speculate on non selective colleges.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 72,151 Senior Member
    I agree with @data10 on his take. For the super selective private schools, the list is actually upside down with ECs, teacher's recommendations, and essays at the top, while SAT/ACT scores and GPA at the bottom.

    For super-selective schools, top-end grades in hard courses and top-end test scores are expected. The subjective stuff distinguishes between numerous applicants who have these top-end academic credentials. But those whose academic credentials are not top-end have much diminished likelihood of admission, so it is not like academic credentials are less important.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 29,950 Senior Member
    edited November 16
    Can't get into a most selective without the grades and scores. After that, cant get in without the rest. Rare exceptions. Not discussing recruits.
  • SDunhamSDunham Registered User Posts: 21 Junior Member
    I agree, I am sure the list is more or less accurate in general only. For very selective schools, above some (high) threshold I would argue that the objective academic scores don't matter nearly as much. Leadership EC, best in class/career recommendations and interviews (or personality evaluations) move way up the list. My grad #1 was basically perfect in 1-4, 7 and 9 and very good we think in 5,6 and 8 but had rejection after rejection, watching many classmates and friends with much lower academics not only get accepted at the same private elites, but get merit awards too. The common factor seemed to be a lot of leadership EC but could also be top recommendations, hooks and perhaps having personality traits identified as more desirable. While #1 definitely wasn't an introvert, he also wasn't super outgoing like some of his friends who made it into those schools. #2 is applying now and some of the same schools seem to be going the extra mile in recruiting compared to #1, despite somewhat lower academics in 1,2,3,4 and 9 on the list. For example, #1 never got calls and personal emails from admissions reps just to check in every few weeks. Again, I think it is the type-a personality and leadership EC that seems to be what they like but we shall see in a few months.
  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 Registered User Posts: 1,745 Senior Member
    I’m surprised that counselor recommendation would be up there. My kid’s counselor had a caseload of 500 students to deal with, so around 125 letters to write. I can’t imagine there would be much insight into what she would be writing.
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