What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Who Reads College Applications?

When applying to college, who exactly is reading and reviewing our applications? Are they professors, admissions officers, or a combination of people? How can I make my application stand out to these individuals?

6 months ago

When it comes to reviewing college applications, the process typically involves a combination of people who are part of the admissions committee, including admissions officers, sometimes faculty members, and even alumni or current students at certain schools. The exact composition of the committee can vary depending on the college or university. Here's a brief rundown of the roles these individuals play in the process:

1. Admissions officers: These are the primary decision-makers when it comes to college applications. They're responsible for reading through thousands of applications and making the initial decision on whether a student should be accepted, waitlisted, or denied admission. They are trained professionals who understand the school's values and admission criteria and pay attention to a wide range of factors, including academic performance, extracurricular activities, essays, and more.

2. Faculty members: At some institutions, faculty may also be involved in the admission process, particularly for applicants pursuing specific majors or fields of study that require specialized knowledge. While they don't play as prominent a role as admissions officers, their input can be valuable in assessing the academic potential and subject-specific interests of applicants.

3. Alumni or current students: Some colleges and universities involve alumni volunteers or trained current students in the initial review process of applications. They play a supporting role in providing additional insight and perspective on the applicant's fit for the school.

To make your application stand out to these individuals, consider the following strategies:

1. Showcase your "spike": Instead of being well-rounded in every area, focus on showing a highly-developed specialty or unique skill that sets you apart from other applicants. This "spike" should be evident through your extracurricular activities, awards, or achievements.

2. Write compelling essays: Your essays provide an opportunity to convey your personality, values, and experiences that may not be evident from your academic record and extracurricular activities. Make sure to write authentically and avoid cliché topics. Focus on sharing personal stories, lessons learned, or insights that make you an interesting and engaging candidate.

3. Demonstrate a strong fit for the school: Research the institution's programs, mission, and values, and then make connections between your experiences, interests, and goals with what the school has to offer. Be specific about how you would contribute to the campus community and why the college is an ideal fit for you.

4. Maintain an upward academic trajectory: Colleges want to see that you have challenged yourself academically and have consistently performed well in your coursework. If you show improvement in your grades or take more advanced classes over time, it may make your application more appealing.

Remember, each member of the admissions committee is looking for different qualities in applicants, so it's essential to present a cohesive and well-rounded picture of yourself through every component of your application.

6 months ago

About CollegeVine’s Expert FAQ

CollegeVine’s Q&A seeks to offer informed perspectives on commonly asked admissions questions. Every answer is refined and validated by our team of admissions experts to ensure it resonates with trusted knowledge in the field.