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The College Admissions Process Public and Private Colleges/Universities. Grandview Senior Parent/Student Workshop September 17, 2012 Jillian McGlinchey Admission Counselor University of Colorado Boulder. Types of Post-secondary Institutions.

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The College Admissions Process

Public and Private Colleges/Universities

Grandview Senior Parent/Student Workshop

September 17, 2012

Jillian McGlinchey

Admission Counselor

University of Colorado Boulder


Types of Post-secondary Institutions

  • There are over 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States alone
  • Technical or Vocational Schools
    • Offer programs toward a particular occupation
    • Often accredited differently (not transferable)
  • Open Enrollment Schools
    • Primarily community and junior colleges
    • Open to anyone, small classes, transferable
  • Selective and Highly Selective Schools
  • Use GPA, tests, essay, etc
    • Four year schools: public or private

What do I Want?


  • What do I want to major in?
  • How much variety is at the school?
  • What if I change my mind?
  • Can I take many classes outside my major?
  • What classes do all students have to take?

What do I Want?


  • What kind of “college experience” do I want?
  • Do I want to play sports? At what level?
  • What hobbies and interests do I want to pursue?
  • Am I interested in joining a fraternity or sorority?
  • Do I want to try something brand new?

What do I Want?


  • How far from home do I want to be?
  • How close do I want to be to a city/airport?
  • What activities do I want to have nearby?
  • Do I want to be in an urban area? A college town? A rural area? The suburbs?
  • Do I want public transportation around the town the college is in? To nearby towns?
  • What kind of weather am I comfortable in?

What do I Want?

Other things to Consider

  • Campus size – total enrollment, class sizes, resources
  • Cost and available financial aid – wait until you get a financial aid package before eliminating any options
  • General campus environment – religious affiliation, political environment, school spirit
  • Competiveness – your realistic chance of getting admitted based on GPA, test scores, classes, activities, and the school’s applicant pool and admission rates.


There is no one college that is right for everyone. Evaluate your priorities and consider what is the best fit for YOU.


Visiting a College Campus

  • Try to visit several of your top choices
  • Visit different campuses in your area, even if you don’t plan to apply, so you can experience multiple environments
  • Take the official tour offered by the school if possible
  • Decide what additional information you’d like to get while on campus, and make arrangements ahead of time

What to Expect When Applying

  • At Most Institutions
  • Application for admission (some use Common App)
  • Application fee – online or mailed
  • High school transcript (grades 9-12)
  • SAT and/or ACT scores
  • Variable by institution
  • Essays
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Interviews
  • Additional tests (e.g. SAT subject tests)
  • Mid-year reports
  • Early Decision vs. Early Action/Notification

The Application

  • CU-Boulder application available at
  • Common application available at
  • The application will ask:
    • Demographic information
    • Academic history
    • Extracurricular history
    • Recommendation letters
    • Supplemental documents
    • Essays

Factors in the CU-Boulder Decision

  • Holistic review process
  • Academic History
    • Course load
    • Difficulty of classes
    • Cumulative GPA
    • Grade trend
    • Test scores
    • Strength of current schedule
    • Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS) completed
  • Additional Factors
    • Volunteer and work experience
    • Unique talents or backgrounds
    • Extenuating circumstances

Test Scores

ACT (Test 1)

English 24

Math 28

Reading 21

Science Reasoning 27

Composite 25

ACT (Test 2)

English 25

Math 26

Reading 22

Science Reasoning 25

Composite 25

Scores Used for Admissions

English 25

Math 28

Reading 22

Science Reasoning 27

Composite 26


Middle 50%

Middle 50% of Admitted Freshmen

GPA 3.3-3.9

Percentile Rank 65-89

SAT Total 1090-1270*

ACT Composite 24-29

Admitted Transfer Students

3.21 average college GPA

2.5 minimum college GPA to be considered

With 24 or more completed hours of transferable coursework decision will be based on college record

*SAT total includes critical reading & math scores only.


Tips and Recommendations

  • Know and meet all deadlines (for honors and scholarships as well as for applications)
  • Make yourself stand out in essays
  • Ask for letters of recommendation well in advance of deadlines
  • Be realistic about admission chances and have backup plans
  • Ensure that your application is presented appropriately
  • Seek advice, but do your own work on applications and essays

In the end…

You are choosing a community. Make sure it’s the right one for YOU!


Connect with your admission counselor!

Jillian McGlinchey

Admission Counselor

University of Colorado Boulder