Only 15 Minutes

Posted by Judy Anne Cavey on Feb 17, 2011 in , , , | No Comments

It takes only 15 minutes for total strangers to decide your future.

Shocking as it might seem, the process involved in deciding whether you get into a certain college–or not–takes only minutes by a committee.

Not only that, the process is highly subjective. Things you wouldn’t think should matter often do. Besides GPA, the difficulty of classes taken, a well written essay and your extracurricular activities, a candidates gender, state of origin and race, play a large part in the process. And believe it or not, GPA isn’t always at the top of the list as most candidates think. Well-rounded students are usually more desirable than those totally focused on academics.

Colleges often weigh the various categories mentioned above. For example, giving a candidate more points for a great essay, or less for a poorly written one. But, if you had a rocky start in college, yet came back strong in the last two years, it must be totally reflected in your grades–not just given lip service in your essay. Basically, they’re looking to see if you are walking the walk, not just talking the talk. Even well written essays are sometimes not enough. If what you have to offer is not what the committee is seeking at that particular time, it can nix your chances.

The committee reviewing candidates usually has certain criteria they are specifically looking for on applications. While one committee at a university may focus on a higher number of candidates being from western states, another college committee could zero in on those who are from eastern states. This is a good argument for those candidates who apply to several colleges across the country, whereby giving them better odds.

As unfair and frustrating as this process may sound to students, unfortunately that’s how it is. Students applying to higher education institutions should do a great deal of research before applying. Researching the demographics of a college may give you clues as to what a committee might be seeking in candidates. For example, if a college has a small number of female students, the committee may begin seeking additional female candidates–but it’s not an exact science. The committee could focus on another area of interest altogether.

When you take the time to research colleges, concentrate on what you want out of that college experience, and then try to figure out what they want of you. This will ensure a more balanced situation.