As an Admissions Counselor, what are your day-to-day responsibilities?
Meeting 1-on-1 with prospective students and their families through our admissions interview process, follow-up with students, parents, coaches, campus constituents, etc. through email, mail, phone correspondence, first-year application review (400+ applicants in my territory), closing calls to admitted students who receive a financial aid package, admissions recruitment travel (college fairs, high school visits, classroom/community presentations, etc.), campus recruitment event planning/coordination/
What do you consider the most significant parts of an application, the parts which applicants should prepare the most carefully?
Rigor of course-load (i.e. Advanced, Honors, AP, dual-credit courses & core course involvement), an active co- and extra-curricular schedule, and showing the ability to adapt well socially to the college community
What common pitfalls should applicants be careful to avoid?
Using another college or university's name in the application essay (i.e. "..and that is why I think I'd be a good fit at the University of Illinois" when they are applying to Augustana),
Are there any myths about the application process which you would like to dispel?
"Admissions offices ignore senior year grades" (on the contrary, we typically look at trends in a students academic record to recommend admission, scholarship, etc.)
What advice would you give to an applicant with below-average test scores but significant work experience?
Utilize our test-optional policy which allows you to submit a graded paper and conduct an official admissions interview. This can help students show through a different indicator their ability to be an effective problem solver, critical thinker, etc.
What do you look for in a letter of recommendation?
The mention of our colleges name because that typically means the student spoke with the teacher/coach/director about us individually -- also reading about the students ability to overcome an adverse situation or be a leader among his or her peers
How much faith do you have in the ability of the SAT or ACT to predict success in college?
It can be a great or extremely bad indicator. That is why we have our test-optional policy. Math & Science scores stick out if a student is looking for a career in the health field; low reading scores can also raise a red flag.
Suppose an applicant has little or no experience relevant to your program, but has significant experience in other fields. What can that applicant do to distinguish himself or herself as a good candidate for your program?
Candidates who we feel are "on the bubble" or just can't get a good "read" on can typically strengthen their case by visiting campus and meeting with a counselor one-on-one. This typically is one of the most influential factors for a student during the application process.
Thank you to Mike Pettis for participating in the Admissions Spotlight Series. Mr. Pettis is an Admissions Counselor at Augustana College in Davenport, IA. In this interview he give us a behind-the-scenes look at the undergraduate admissions process.
This interview was conducted by Joseph Fernandez, a New York Tutor with Parliament Tutors. Joseph specializes in SAT Tutoring.