Issue 10: Colorado School of Mines (2/2), 2018 State of College Admission
Exclusive Insider Interview: Colorado School of Mines, Admissions Counselor and Application Reader (Part 2)
Today, we continue our conversation with Amanda and learn what she thinks are the secrets to college admissions.
As I mentioned before, we’re recruiting and we’re reading applications so it’s very easy for us to sit down with a family and talk to them realistically about what their odds are when they’re looking at Mines. I think people know that Mines is a very prestigious STEM school but if you look at our acceptance rates they’re actually quite high compared to an MIT or Stanford or Caltech or something like that. Our acceptance rate this past cycle was about 49%, so students who are academically qualified and who have other qualities that we’re looking for — teamwork, leadership skills (are they well-rounded students?), and they applied early — chances are they’re going to get in. We’re mainly just looking to see if a student is prepared to be successful here and Mines is harder than just a large state school.
We rank number one in the state of Colorado for an engineering degree so we do have some higher standards than other universities, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that a student who is qualified to be here applies and wouldn’t get in. Really, a lot of times, it comes down to the timing factor with rolling admissions but there are other factors that go into the decision.”
We’re looking at students’ leadership skills, we’re looking at their work histories, if they’re innovators, if they show interest in Mines rather than just going to our website, sending an application and that’s it but have never communicated with us at any point and never been on campus, never looked at our website, never read any of the emails that we send them. Those kind of students are hard to gauge whether they’re truly interested or not, so a student could have the exact same academic and other qualifications as another student but maybe the student who has updated us their senior year and said “Hey, this is what’s going my senior year. I’m still very interested in Mines and I’m anxiously awaiting my decision. I plan to come visit campus if I get admitted” — we’re going to know more about that student and about their interest level than a student who never says anything at all.”
So, we’ll move on to the next question. Some students are just checking boxes that they’ve been told by their parents or teachers to check-off, which is “have this grade, this type of extracurricular activity, and this type of essay and you’re a shoo-in.” How do students stop just checking the boxes and actually prove that they’re pursuing their passion?”
One thing you talked about is some students are just not a good fit for Mines and I wanted to know, what type of applicant is a straight up no? They can’t even have the opportunity to transfer just because you don’t think they’ll ever fit in the university.”
Dear Socrates Q&A
In this quick 4-minute video, I…
- reveal Angela’s question
- discuss what was on my mind when applying to college 8 years ago
- take you on a visual path down my journey from high school to college
- share my hopes that you’ll learn from my experience but still forge your own path
If you’ve ever wondered what I looked like in high school and college, play the video to view some old pictures!
Thousands of admissions officers, high school counselors, and researchers contributed to the annual Admissions Trends Survey and Counseling Trends Survey.
SocratesPost read through the 40-page report and got you The Skinny.
1. You’re competing against more college applicants and seeing more headlines on record application numbers.
Between Fall 2016 and Fall 2017, first-time freshmen (the most common) applications to U.S. colleges increased 4%. Transfers increased 3% and international applications increased 8%. Most colleges cannot increase the number of seats offered to new students. Therefore, applicants face even greater competition. What this means for you: a strong application is more important than ever.
2. College admissions rates grew and you’ll probably get into college. (No guarantees on which one, though!)
The average U.S. college acceptance rate increased slightly from 65% in Fall 2013 to 66% in Fall 2016 for first-time domestic freshmen The Ivies and other highly selective colleges like MIT, Stanford, Northwestern, UChicago, etc. are constantly grabbing headlines with their record-low acceptance rates. But as a whole, American colleges are actually accepting more students. Private colleges (including those schools listed above) saw a 6% lower acceptance rate than public colleges.