Vanderbilt’s Dean of Admission’s Reflections on the College Admission Process

College admissions committees are now reading applications almost around the clock. What are the readers thinking?

Often students and parents think that grades and test scores alone persuade admission officers. Colleges need to admit good individual students, of course, but they also need to build a freshman class that can support programs in athletics, technology, music, arts, debate, journalism, drama, politics....all the extracurricular activities that enrich campus life. For example, Whitman College, now a national debate power house, targeted promising debaters in the admissions process for several years.

Douglas Christiansen, Vanderbilt University’s Vice Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions, describes the process of building a freshman class in a 23 minute recorded interview, posted to YouTube: “How to Get into the Best College for You”. His comments are not specifically about Vanderbilt, but about the admissions process. You may recognize Dean Christiansen from his appearances on television shows explaining the admission process.

Dean Christiansen’s comments are invaluable to parents and students as they enter the deliberation stage of the application process, and I encourage you to watch it.