Colleges Use a Team-based Approach to Read Applications

As more and more top students apply for coveted spots at Ivy League and highly competitive schools, several of these schools have developed a new team-based approach to efficiently analyze and evaluate each applicant. Rather than work alone, each to a recruitment territory, admissions officers are now reading in pairs.  They discuss and rate each applicant according to specific criteria, mission of the college and recommend a decision (reject or accept) and type notes into a system as they simultaneously discuss the applicant simultaneously reviewing each application on separate screens.  The new approach, initially developed by University of Pennsylvania.

In this new model, one reader assesses the applicant’s academic credentials, reviewing transcripts, test scores, recommendations and course load and the other reader focuses on the student’s voice: essays, interviews and talents. This new evaluative approach allows the admissions officer pairs to have an in depth conversation about each applicant and render efficient decisions and allows the admissions offices to review thousands of applications efficiently.

I have always emphasized to my clients that admissions officers review everything.  Now, they are having a conversation about applicants as they read their applications!


Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director and lead admissions expert at Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group.  Dr. Lowe specializes in providing exclusive concierge-type admissions advisory services for U.S. and international families and students who are interested in applying to Ivy League and highly selective colleges and combined BS/MD programs.  Dr. Lowe also helps students gain admissions into their top choice private schools and colleges after they have been deferred, wait-listed and rejected.

As an experienced and trusted admissions advisor for over 20 years, Dr. Paul R. Lowe is an active member of the following organizations that uphold the ethical and professional standards and principles of good admission practices in college and independent school counseling: Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC), New Jersey Association for College Admission Counseling (NJACAC), New York State Association for College Admissions Counseling (NYSACAC) and International Association for College Admissions Counseling (IACAC).