Recently, I had the good fortune to hear a panel of admissions experts share insights about their roles and the college application process. The panel was comprised of of admissions staffers from CalTech (Pasadena, CA), University of Oregon (Eugene, OR), American University (Washington, DC) and Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA). All four individuals were excellent ambassadors with deep understanding of the nature and character of their institutions.
The event filled me with optimism and enthusiasm (not stress!). In fact, the more I learn about college admissions, the more I genuinely believe that stress can and should be avoided. Why? Because, whether you are hoping to play a D-1-2-or-3 college sport, want to bring a special creative ability to campus, or are simply a well-rounded student looking for a welcoming place to continue your academic pursuits, admissions officers are reading your resume in search of the same thing: FIT. They are asking themselves, "Will this applicant be able to complete our coursework and graduate on time?" "Will this applicant find, on our campus, the opportunities s/he appears to be seeking and, thus, have a satisfying and successful undergraduate experience?"
Honestly, applicants should be looking for the same thing. WHAT SCHOOLS WILL BE THE BEST "next step" for MY LIFE? Which communities can offer me both a fun four years and set me on an exciting post-graduation path? If your search is framed in this way, you are enhancing the odds that you and those admissions officers asking the same questions from the other side will find your way to each other.