The Role of the College Admissions Officer

To a high school student anxiously waiting to hear if he or she got into his or her dream college, an admissions officer can seem like a mysterious, intimidating, all-powerful figure. Who are these people who hand out letters of acceptance or rejection on what can sometimes seem like a completely random basis? Here’s a closer look at the elusive admissions officer.

What Admissions Officers Do

Simply put, admissions officers are responsible for finding the students who are the best fit for their college. The admissions office runs a little differently at every college, but admissions officers typically have the following duties:

  • Visiting High Schools. These visits are a way for admissions officers to provide information about their college and help students decide if they should apply. Keep in mind that admissions officers are often responsible for reviewing applications from the same areas where they make high school visits. That means the person you meet at a college fair could easily be the same person who decides whether or not to accept you. Make a good impression.
  • Talking to Students and Parents. Believe it or not, a big part of an admissions officer’s job is to put you at ease in the application process. Depending on the college, admissions officers are pretty accessible. You might even be able to meet with an admissions officer during a campus visit, which is a great way to give them a face to match up with your application.
  • Reviewing Applications. The process for reviewing applications is a bit different at every college. Typically, an admissions officer will check that you meet the college’s minimum academic requirements, like test scores and GPA. Then, they look at the rest of your application to get a feel for the type of individual you are and decide if you’re a good fit for their college. Remember that the average admissions officer will have hundreds even thousands of applications cross their desk. You will need your interests and extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation and personal essay to really make you stand out from the crowd.
  • Interviewing Applicants. Not all colleges interview applicants, but many do. If you have an interview with an admissions officer, don’t sweat it too much it’s not an interrogation. Just talk about yourself sincerely and honestly and give the admissions officer a realistic picture of what you would bring to their college.
  • Deciding Who Gets In. Ultimately, the job of an admissions officer is to decide who to accept, waitlist and deny. They may not follow an exact checklist, but admissions officers know what they are looking for. They only want to offer admission to students who will be happy and successful at their college, and they make their decisions accordingly.

How To Impress Them

As cliché as it sounds, the best advice for impressing an admissions officer is to simply be yourself. The goal of an admissions officer is as much to help you make the right college decision as it is to find the right students for their school. So help them out by relaxing and letting the real you come through. In the end, whether an admissions officer decides to accept or deny you, they make the decision with your best interests in mind.

Learn more about the college admissions process from the resources at Cappex.

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