The month of February is the time when admissions officers all across the country are hunkering down to review tens of thousands of applications. However, students are often unaware of exactly what happens once they hit “submit.” Here, find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the application review process to give you a quick peek inside the admissions office.

How many people will be reading my application? This can vary from university to university, but your application will almost always be reviewed by at least two people before a final decision is made. Oftentimes, it will be reviewed 3, 4, or even more times by various groups of people. This can sometimes include faculty from the major or school of study that you applied to.

Do admissions officers really review every piece of my application? Yes! That’s why the non-quantitative pieces of your application — such as your essays and extracurricular activities — are just as important as your test scores and grades. It’s also why you should thoroughly check your application for any grammar or spelling errors. One of the worst mistakes an applicant can make is spelling the name of the university wrong or writing an essay about another university entirely, and it happens more often than you would think!

What are admissions officers looking for in my essays? Think of the essay as the one opportunity that you have to tell the admissions committee something about yourself that they wouldn’t know otherwise. Admissions officers want to get a sense of your personality and what you’re passionate about from your essays. One important tip is to pick a topic that you enjoy writing about — if you’re bored writing your essay, chances are an admissions officer will be bored reading it.

I’ve heard that the admissions office checks to see whether I’ve opened every email they’ve sent, is that true? For the most part, no, but there are many universities that consider demonstrated interest as an important piece of your application. Demonstrated interest can include joining the mailing list, visiting campus, attending a local information session, completing an interview, or meeting with an admissions representative at a college fair. And even if demonstrated interest isn’t used by a university, it’s always a good idea to read emails from universities you’ve applied to.

About the author
Kyle Cortley

Kyle received a BS from Vanderbilt University and a certificate in college advising from Columbia University. Kyle has more than five years of admissions experience, including at the State University of New York as well as Rice University, where she was an Assistant Director of Admissions and oversaw the BS/MD program with Baylor College of Medicine. Kyle manages a caseload of clients as well as a team of AcceptU counselors. She is an IECA Associate Member.

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