This admissions insider is impressed by students with low test scores. Keep reading to learn her secrets behind the application rating system, and what she knew applicants knew about the app process. This week, SocratesPost scored an exclusive insider interview with private liberal arts college Concordia University’s senior admissions counselor, Linda Hernandez.
Exclusive Insider Interview: Senior Admissions Counselor, Concordia University Chicago
SocratesPost: Can you tell me about your experience working in admissions?
Linda at Concordia: Right after graduation, I was hired by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission and worked there for a year. That was such a nice starting point and it allowed me explore higher ed as a field. I was then hired by Concordia University Chicago, who at the time was looking for a bilingual rep to work/recruit in Chicago. As a bilingual, first gen, alumna, and product of Chicago Public Schools, I was so excited. I have been with CUC for about a year and a half now, and it has been challenging, fun, and rewarding. I have gained so many mentors, new friends, and new knowledge about the higher ed world.
SocratesPost: What types of applicants impress you the most that would surprise most people?
Linda at Concordia: First generation students continuously surprise me. When I review their applications, have phone conversations with them, or see them on campus, I am constantly reminded that they have had to learn and manage all of this going to college process by themselves and they are thriving. Students with low test scores and awesome GPAs also always amaze me.
SocratesPost: What’s one memorable positive and one negative personal encounter you’ve had with an applicant? Why did those instances stand out?
Linda at Concordia: My favorite moment of my first year here at CUC was only having one student in the pool for the full ride scholarship that CUC offers to five incoming freshmen. I got to know the student and his family so well and was really praying and rooting for him to be the recipient. When he was awarded the scholarship, sharing the news with him and the family was such a gratifying and rewarding moment for everyone involved. On the flip side, one of the hardest moments was when a student whom I, again, had worked with since the beginning decided to deposit and commit to CUC, but a week later beg and asked for his application to be withdrawn because of his doubts! I was shocked and saddened that this fear and doubts prevented him from giving CUC and college in general a try.
SocratesPost: Does CUC use a rating system to score applications and how does that work?
SocratesPost: What’s the journey of an application file at CUC? (Ex. Does it go from a regional counselor to a second reader to a committee? Who makes the final decision?)
SocratesPost: What do you wish applicants and their families knew about the CUC admissions process?
SocratesPost: Some admissions officers have strong feelings about how parents should be involved in the app process. What’s your take on that?