Penn Library

What Admissions Officers Want You To Know

When you’re working on a college admissions consultants, including Michael Goran, our Founder and Lead Consultant, experience that enables us to influence the content of your applications in ways that improve your chances. We understand the processes through which AO’s vet applications as they assess not only your qualifications but also the value you will contribute to their school’s student body.

There are a number of non-obvious concerns of AO’s that applicants should be aware of regarding operating constraints as well as the reasons behind the decision to accept or reject.

Below, IvySelect offers a few helpful tips for you as an applicant;

  1. All communications between you and your targeted schools are, in effect, part of your application. When a student or parent contacts the admissions office, you should keep in mind that treating anyone on the staff in a demeaning manner may have a negative effect on your chances of acceptance. Don’t be rude to the personnel answering the phone or responding to e-mails.
  2. Take positive action that will indicate your interest in your 2 or 3top choices. Take a guided tour of the campus, register at their booth and presentations at college fairs, meet off-campus with alumni, or, even better if possible, on-campus with an AO, and write your best possible response to the “Why this school?” essay. AO’s will note anything significant that you say or do that demonstrates interest in their school. They prefer applicants who are likely to accept their school’s offer of admission.
  3. Your application must make a good first impression. Armed with the knowledge that admissions officers often have 10 minutes or less to conduct the initial review of your application, develop your application in such as way that their first impression is impactful. Don’t extend your personal statement into the additional information section. Unless required, don’t attach a resume if it merely repeats the information already provided in your activities list. Don’t send the school more than the requested number of recommendations. The AO’s have limited time to review your application, so don’t force them to spread that time so thin that they might miss the highlights that you want them to know.
  4. The way that you’re perceived as an individual is an important consideration for AO’s. To be admitted to an elite school, it’s not sufficient to have excellent academic credentials. Most applicants do. You also must demonstrate ways in which you’ll contribute to the welfare of the campus community. Having an upbeat, congenial, and energetic persona is one of the best ways to accomplish that. Be sure to communicate that aspect of yourself.
  5. Submit the best application you possibly can to each school.
    Consider the large number of applications that each AO must read, then develop ways to make your profile stand out among your peers. You don’t want to just make the cut; you want to be memorable in a positive way. Strongly emphasize any hook that you may be able to employ.
  6. Treat your on-campus interview, if offered, as the competitive advantage that it is. It’s an ideal opportunity to build a rapport and to enhance your appeal. Don’t neglect to ask questions during your interview. These should be questions that can’t be answered easily by a review of the school’s website. Consider asking questions that demonstrate your interest in your planned field of study.
  7. Given their very low admissions rates, even outstanding applicants are often rejected by an elite school. The school’s administration shapes the upcoming class to meet the school’s student body needs and to advance its quest for diversity. Sometimes, as conditions change, AO’s can revive the candidacy of an applicant about whom they feel strongly. AO’s advocate for those applicants that they find most appealing. Try to get them on your side.

The guidance that improves your chance of admission at Ivy League and other elite institutions has been IvySelect’s specialty for many years. Our process involves developing a thorough knowledge of your qualifications. Then we identify your extracurricular and academic passions. Our college admissions consultants develop a clear vision of how you can stand above your competition. We help you create, enhance, and display your personal profile in ways that appeal to AO’s.