Trends in College Admission 2014

Peter Johnson, Director of Undergraduate Admissions for Columbia University, recently addressed a meeting of professional members of the Independent Educational Consultants Association. As a professional member of IECA, I was in that audience.

Following are some highlights from his speech:

*The Importance of Supplements to Applications, especially the response to the question as to why the student wants to attend a particular college or university. Do you want to know what a college values? Look at its supplemental questions.
*Demonstration of a Student’s Independent Intellectual Curiosity, especially through what students read and whether they have taken advantage of the resources available to them.
*A Personal Reason for Wanting to Attend a Particular School. Is there something beyond the obvious? Yes, you like the philosophy behind Columbia’s Core Curriculum, but, for example, is there a professor with whom you want to study or with whom you want to do research?
*Authenticity in a Student’s Application. If you tell a college that you want to study a particular subject, does your application reflect a genuine interest and background that relates to that interest?
*Harmony in a Student’s Application. Are all voices reflected in an application in harmony – the student, the teacher, the guidance counselor, the school (transcript and profile)?
*The Continued Development of “Niche” Admissions in which colleges will continue to look for students who have developed special talents and areas.
*An Expected Increase in Interest among selective colleges in under-represented, first generation, low income students, an interest championed by the Obama Administration.
*The Importance of Teacher Recommendations that should tell the story of the student’s life in the classroom over a period of time with as much detail as possible.