The Importance of the Application Process – Part I

There are two reasons that application completion is so critical—getting admitted and earning merit-based assistance (aid based on the qualities of the student). The majority of colleges and universities award merit aid as part of the application review process for admissions. At some schools the financial aid office is responsible for both need and non-need assistance. It’s important to know who controls the money at the schools you’re applying to.

It is helpful that those qualities and qualifications that will help you get accepted will also put you in the running for school scholarships. What are the areas of interest being scrutinized by the college admissions committee and which factors count most in the selection process?

They will generally try to select a well-balanced class, one that enriches the college-going experience for all students. Colleges and universities seek to admit students who will contribute to challenging academics, a rich cultural environment, strong athletic programs, and varied extra-curricular activities.

It could be that the college is trying to achieve more specific recruiting goals. For example, one school may be trying to increase the size of its student population, hoping this will create new academic departments and increase the size of the supporting faculty. A different university may be seeking greater student diversity. Another may be attempting to raise their academic profile by raising admissions standards.

These goals demand that the schools develop specific criteria, standards, and recruiting policies. Needless to say, colleges can only meet these recruiting goals by carefully screening each individual applicant. Considering the thousands of applications that they review, your job as an applicant is to help them by making your selection as easy as possible.

As part of your research, you should try to find out what the recruiting policies are for the schools you’re interested in.

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