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AcceptU has assembled the largest team of former admissions officers to support applicants in the admissions process.

In this blog series, we invite you to learn more about our team and insights gleaned from their previous admissions experience.

Our next counselor Q&A comes from Leah, who previously evaluated applicants at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and is a former Director of Graduate Admissions at Harvard University.

1. What can you share about the application process that most people will not know?

When evaluating prospective engineering students, the application evaluators were not a “committee” per se, but individual faculty. Since the majority of programs (especially Ph.D.) require students to be researchers in laboratory settings and TA’s, the faculty want to admit those that have the grades, experience, and determination to be in the forefront of the field.

2. What is the first thing you read in an application?

The first thing I read was the statement of purpose. This helped me get to know the student right off the bat.

3. What are the key qualities that you wish to see in a personal statement?

I look for unique experiences, specifically what the student is going to contribute to the university.

4. Can you give an example of a mistake that caused an application to be rejected?

Not following directions, not answering questions, and/or including unsolicited “extras” (e.g. copies of awards, theses and papers).

About the author
Marc Zawel

As author of Untangling the Ivy League, Marc literally wrote the book on gaining admission to highly selective colleges. He earned a BA from Cornell University – where he met AcceptU’s co-founder – and an MBA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Marc chaired the admissions advisory board; he has also conducted alumni interviews for Cornell for more than fifteen years.

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