The 7 Things Every Admissions Officer Looks For

While each school and program may be different, there are some things that every admissions officer across the board looks for in candidates. These seven things represent key evaluation criteria in the decision making process.

1. Academic ability

Admissions officers want to make sure you’ll be able to succeed academically once you reach campus. They’ll evaluate the strength of your GPA and test scores relative to the other candidates in their pool. They might also consider the reputation of your undergraduate school and the rigor of your major.

2. Progression

Your application should show a history of growth and progression. If you had trouble with your grades starting out, make sure to show improvement over the course of the years. Increase the difficulty of your courses throughout your college career. Take on more responsibilities in your clubs and extracurricular activities. Rise up to more senior positions in your internships.

3. Intellectual interest

Admissions committees evaluate how driven candidates are to learn their intended field and gain expertise in the subject matter. Show interest in your field by conducting a research project or writing a capstone paper.

4. Leadership potential

Schools are looking for candidates who will make an impact on campus through leadership. Find a way to express your ability to engage and lead groups, whether through your resume or your personal statement. You can start a club, manage a project, or captain the squash team.

5. Extracurricular involvement

If there’s one type of student that admissions officers turn away, it’s the student who does nothing outside of attending classes. Show that you’re involved in your campus or local community by joining clubs, tutoring fellow students, interning at a nearby organization, or volunteering. Admissions officers aren’t impressed by students who get involved just for resume-building purposes, though – find activities that you’re really interested in!

6. Communication skills

Communication skills will play a large part in your future success as a student, so admissions officers will evaluate these abilities thoroughly. Polish your personal statement and get some interview practice in to demonstrate your written and verbal speaking skills. Be both confident and concise when giving responses.

7. A coherent story

Your application materials should make a coherent case for your admission considering the following questions – why this school? Why continue with school at all? Why is now the right time for school? How does school align with your interests and goals?


About the Author:

Catherine Blogger PhotoCatherine supports Magoosh’s future grad school students by unlocking tricks of the test prep and application trade. Catherine spends her free time checking out local farmer’s markets, reading food and lifestyle blogs, and watching Bravo. She is forever in search of the best Mexican and Italian food in any given city.


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