3 Pillars for College Admissions

There are three key components admissions officers look at when reviewing students’ college applications:

Today, most large universities are faced with the challenge of reviewing thousands of applications in a way that equally addresses all three pillars of admissions.

But, can they really pay equal attention to all three? Should they?

Consider how subjective or objective each category is.

  • Standardized Test Scores – Very black and white. Every student takes the same test. 100% objective
  • Grades – Not so black and white. Students go to different schools, have different teachers, different text books. 50% objective, 50% subjective.
  • Subjective Qualities – Extra curricular, essays, volunteering, leadership, etc. 100% subjective.

In a world that is losing economic and industrial boundaries (the world really is flat), people with “smarts”, high IQs, and academic mind sets are becoming commoditized. Look no further than India to see how bright minds, engineers and mathematicians,  are literally being cranked out in the hundreds if not thousands or millions.

The most valuable quality of tomorrow’s work force will be those with leadership skills. Motivation. Determination. Communicative abilities. Marketing abilities. A way to stand out to be bold, different. Unique.

Having the “smarts” is absolutely critical, but without an effective way to leverage your “smarts”, you become less valuable to yourself and employers.

Universities need to reevaluate how to consider all 3 pillars on an equal basis, with new methodologies and in a way that scales with the thousands of applications. They need to appreciate the value of the “Subjective Qualities” more so than they do now. This is not an easy task, but I’m confident some folks are up to the challenge.

After speaking with Steve Amundson, the new Director of Admissions at UW, I believe there are those individuals who are certainly capable and willing to meet these challenges. Steve is one of those people and I wish him the best of luck.

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