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College Counseling at Hun Hosts Case Studies Program with Admission Officers from Top Schools

Princeton, NJ – Have you ever wondered what goes into decisions made by college admissions offices? Hun School parents received an inside look into the admission process from admission officers representing nine top universities on Wednesday, October 29th, during a College Counseling case studies program: You are the Admissions Committee. The Hun School’s College Counseling Office invited parents of juniors and seniors to join admission directors from Carnegie Mellon University, College of Charleston, Columbia, Franklin and Marshall, Loyola, Penn State, Rhodes, Tufts, and Williams. Parents and admission officers attended a joint session and then broke into mock-subcommittees to work through individual case studies. The program was designed to help demystify how college applications are evaluated.


Prior to the program, the panel of admission experts and parents reviewed admission files containing academic transcripts, standardized test scores, a list of student activities and extra-curricular interests, personal essays, recommendation letters, and personal background information from four anonymous applicants to a fictional school – Red Brick University.


Led by an admission representative moderator, parents broke into small groups and took part in mock admission committees, where they worked together to review the files of the applicants. They were tasked with offering one student admission, one student wait-list status, and to deny two students. As parents closely read through and discussed the files, they were introduced to the process that guides collegiate admission offices. Spirited discussions and student advocacy emerged based on the information provided by each applicant.


“Admissions officers want to say ‘yes,’ to students. But the reality is, that it just isn’t possible to admit every good student who applies to a university,” explained Associate Director of College Counseling Beth Ann Burkmar. “Yet, at the heart of an admission officer’s work, is a desire to find students who will thrive at their college or university. That is the process we tried to replicate for our parents tonight – to identify the student who earns parents’ confidence, through the evaluation of these admission files.”


The results from the groups were not unanimous. Consensus within groups was not common; and the consistency of desicions across the groups was just as unpredictable.


Hun School parent Scott Chanin said, “By listening to all of the conversations this evening, it became clear that there is quite a bit of variability in this process. It really depends on who is reading a application, what a school’s needs are, and what is important to fill a class – that determine a student’s acceptance.”


Ms. Burkmar responded, “What is important to take away from tonight’s exercise is that this is a human process. It is an art, not a science. The input that each member of an admission office brings to a file is valuable, but so too is the information that a student includes in their file. It is our job at The Hun School to make sure the very best information that accurately reflects our students reaches collegiate admissions offices, so that they can be evaluated for the wonderful students and people that they are.”


The Hun School would like to thank the representatives from Carnegie Mellon University, College of Charleston, Columbia University, Franklin and Marshall College, Loyola University New Orleans, Pennsylvania State University, Rhodes College, Tufts University, and Williams College who took time to facilitate the mock admission committees.


About The Hun School of Princeton: 

The Hun School of Princeton is a co-educational, private day and boarding school in Princeton, New Jersey. Individual attention and strong student-faculty relationships are the hallmarks of the School.  On the 45-acre campus between Philadelphia and New York City, student-centered, hands-on learning prepare students for the global community in which they will live and work. The Hun School is comprised of 630 students in its Middle School, Upper School, and Postgraduate Program. The Hun School is home to students from twenty-three countries and eighteen states.

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