The Common Application has caused a proliferation in the number of applications colleges receive each year. This, in turn, has made it more challenging for colleges to field an optimal freshman class from their applicant pools. To make the process of wading through a knee-deep sea of applications more manageable, a majority of competitive colleges apply screening algorithms and essay readers. Only applications that pass this initial stage make it to the next round from which acceptance letters are sent.
Approximately 75% of competitive colleges focus first on objective factors that include GPA, test scores, and academic rigor. For these schools, the numbers alone can get you to the starting gate. From there, you need other factors to move your application along to the next phase. The other 25% of competitive colleges focus first on best fit. These schools initially look at essays, recommendations, ethnicity, special talents, and various intangibles that identify you as a “good fit” for their school culture. In both cases, an experienced college consultant provides guidance that gives you your best chance for admission.
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