When we consider the college admissions process from the admissions officers’ point of view we gain insight for our own applications. My 1st blog on this topic shared one such insight. Here is a second.
Building a Class: The goal of an admissions office at any university is to build a freshman class that contributes to and enhances their college community. The class they are building includes a diverse array of qualities both academic and non-academic. Clearly each student in the class does not contribute to the full array of qualities they are looking for. Rather, each admitted student brings their own unique depth of quality that fits within the community as a whole.
This tells us that “being well-rounded” isn’t necessarily appropriate if it precludes excellence in a particular area or two of interest. Dabbling, but not becoming truly engaged during high school is not a plus from an admissions officer’s point of view. What a college is looking for is what you are looking for -- something, anything, that you truly enjoy and can excel at. With excellence comes experience, maturity, and the building of character.
Understanding that admissions officers are building a class of unique, capable individuals also tells us that how we express our accomplishments and activity matters and a disjointed, scattergun approach is likely not the best. Take the time to develop a theme or story that describes you as you would like to be understood by the admissions officer. The theme is for your personal use in: choosing among activities; essay topics and the specific examples shared within those topics; providing recommenders with examples for their letters; and reviewing your application as a whole.
From the admissions officer's point of view, you are an integral part of the college community's freshman class, which they are responsible for building.