The personnel on the Higher Education Consultants Association college admissions panel answered the following questions on current trends and hot topics.
How do you know a student wrote the college essay?
- The prose style of a 17-year old is different than a 40-year old.
- Essays written by committee loose their force.
- The main essay and supplement essays are consistent. If the admissions personnel are in doubt about who authored the essays, they compare the essays to the SAT writing sample.
What gender issues are colleges facing?
- Liberal arts colleges are becoming increasingly female. Some liberal arts colleges are looking to keep the percent of men at greater than 40 percent.
- There are too few women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
How should high school students spend their summer?
- Do something constructive.
- Test some idea, like "what is it like to work?" or "what is field 'X' like?"
What is the role of the interview in the admissions decision?
- The Muhlenberg College representative indicated that 75 percent of students are interviewed by their admissions staff on campus or off-site. Their interview is both evaluative and informational. The college wants to get at intangibles like what is the student hoping for and whether the student is kind and civil.
- The Dartmouth College representative said that alumni conduct the interviews and score the prospective students on a 1-5 rating score. Forty-one percent of the students interviewed received a score of 4 or 5. Dartmouth is interested in learning why the students want to attend their college.
- At Rutgers University, students from the pharmacy school and the Mason Gross School have interviews.
How are you using social media?
- Rutgers University does not read the student's Facebook page.
- After students were accepted to Dartmouth College, they could participate in a Class of 2016 page. High school students could video chat with current Dartmouth College students.
What's happening with spring admits?
- Brandeis University has been accepting students who applied for the fall term as spring admits for seven or eight years. This allows them to fill the space made available because students are studying abroad. The students who are spring admits have their own orientation, make a good transition to Brandeis University, and turn out well.
Do any of these answers surprise you? Are there other questions that you wish they discussed?