What Admissions Counselors Want You to Know

8.7.20 What Admissions Counselors Want You to Know

Applying for college is an exciting step in many people’s life.  However, it can also be a little intimidating, especially if you are the first person in your family to pursue higher education.  (Psst. We’ve got a post for that, too. Check it out!) These are the things our admissions counselors want you to know to keep you from turning your college admission into a scandal.

Take your time

Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, college admissions applications shouldn’t be completed in an hour.  Take time to plan out what you are going to say, how you’re going to say it, and why.  A thoughtful approach will come through and shows that you know how to plan ahead and present yourself well.

Quality over quantity

Admissions counselors love to see that you are involved in extracurricular activities, but before you start listing every activity or club you ever thought about joining, consider the ones in which you were most heavily involved.  Admissions counselors want to understand what was impactful about you being involved in clubs or activities more than they want to see you did everything.  Did your time on the basketball team inspire you to be a coach?  Did winning a big debate make you want to be a lawyer?   Maybe your sports injury caused you to reconsider your interests and try something new that ended up becoming an unexpected passion. Those are stories we want to hear more about!

Think outside the box

The first thing that comes to mind isn’t always the best option.  That goes for when you are answering essay questions and even picking people to write reference letters.  Remember, the goal is quality.  That means digging deep and going beyond the expected.  You don’t always have to pick your favorite teacher to write your recommendation.  Instead, think about asking the teacher who saw you struggle and persevere to ultimately succeed in their class.

Just be YOU

You are a unique individual, and your personality matters.  Don’t change who you are to fit what you think admissions counselors are looking for.  Granted, it’s important to make a good impression and polish those rough spots, but admissions counselors want to get to know the real you.  That means it’s also important that you write your own essays and fill out your own application if you’re able.  Feel free to get input from friends and family, but your best qualities can’t shine if someone else is doing the talking.  You can also take a deep breath if you didn’t have the best ACT or SAT score, we are more focused on you than your test score.  (But that isn’t an excuse not to try your best on those tests.  Your scores can be helpful in the admission process when it comes time to register for classes and even help with financial aid.)

Take the next step

You may have more questions than what we addressed here.  Be sure to reach out to our admissions counselors at Marshalltown or Ellsworth with any questions.  There is always someone ready to help you take that next step.