12/02/2020 Alicia Morrissey

What Does a Good College Application Look Like?

The most important aspect of applying to college is finding and applying to the schools that are right for you. But once you find that school, how can you be confident your application is the best it can be?

On Wednesday, Nov. 11, three admission officers drew back the curtain on application review processes during Franklin & Marshall College’s fifth and final Webinar Wednesday, “Selective College Admission: Case Studies.” The session was hosted by Hillen Grason Jr., associate director of operations and communications at F&M; Ulysses deArmas, associate director of undergraduate admission at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.; and Adam Kauffman, assistant director of recruitment at University of Pittsburgh.

While the presenters discussed acceptance rates, they noted selective admissions isn’t just about the number of students admitted—it’s also about the process of how applications are reviewed. All three institutions practice holistic reviews, which mean they review both quantitative (such as transcripts, test scores, and class rank) and qualitative (such as extracurricular activities, letters of recommendations, and essays) pieces of an application.

“Our goal is to admit the best class for each of our institutions as possible and continue to foster access to a higher education,” Grason said.

So, how exactly do you stand out when these institutions have acceptance rates ranging between 35% and 54%?

“Your essay is your voice in the application,” Grason said. “The essay is your opportunity to differentiate yourself in large competitive applicant pools.”

“Tell us something about who you are that we’re not going to find out by reading the rest of your application,” deArmas added.

To dive even deeper into how applications are reviewed, participants had the opportunity to step into the shoes of an admission officer. The session split into groups to consider three mock applications for a college. Based on the mock school profile, participants were asked to  choose which applicant was the best fit and would be admitted, which would be added to the waitlist, and which would be denied.

Watch below to enjoy the first portion of the webinar; if you have any further questions don’t hesitate to reach out to our admission team.


Webinar Wednesday — Selective College Admission Case Studies

Selective College Admission: Case Studies

Session Presenters:

  • Hillen Grason Jr., associate director of operations and communications, Franklin & Marshall College

  • Ulysses deArmas, associate director of undergraduate admission, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

  • Adam Kauffman, assistant director of recruitment, University of Pittsburgh

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