A panel of admissions personnel at the Higher Education Consultants Association Conference discussed "What intangible factors make a student stand out?"
Chris Hooker-Haring, dean of admissions and financial aid at Muhlenberg College, valued energy, sustained commitment, intellectual curiosity, and authenticity.
Lou Hirsch, director of admissions at the University of Delaware, indicated that he didn't expect applicants to be Olympic gold medalists. He wanted to know who the student is and how did he get that way. He wants to learn how the student's activities shaped them. When the letters of recommendation and student's essays mesh, he found it compelling.
Mark Spencer, director of admissions at Brandeis University, said that admissions officers sometimes have a bias. If the admissions officer feels connected to the student because of their story, that student had an advantage.
Brian Estrada, director of admissions at Dartmouth College, talked about valuing students who are open to learning from others, as well as students who others can learn from. Dartmouth College considers moral development and peer recommendations.
Courtney McAnuff, vice president of enrollment management at Rutgers University, said the Rutgers admissions office does not see race, gender or high school when evaluating applications. Rutgers University is concerned about how students work with diverse situations and want to have a well-rounded class.
What intangible factors do you think are important?