How Long Do Admission Officers Read Applications? (FAQs)

How Long Do Admission Officers Read Applications

After weeks of receiving thousands of applications from students seeking admission to study at their school, colleges embark on the admissions reading process.

During this phase, the admission officers read the applications of students and assess whether they are good enough for admission into their institutions.

Generally, every school has a different time frame that admissions officers take to read applications. Thus, this article will tell you all you need to know about college admission.

Who is an Admission Officer?

An enrollment officer or admissions officer is responsible for reviewing student applications and making admissions decisions in schools of higher learning.

In this role, he or she counsels prospective students on admissions policies, course selection, articulation agreements, and other related matters.

How Long Do Admission Officers Read Applications?

All schools embrace different techniques when assessing applicants.

But they go through the following steps to process applications:

  • Screen & Sort, where applications are sent to the right admissions officer;
  • Individual Reads, where up to three application officers read the applications to find the good ones;
  • Committee Reads, where a group evaluates applications;
  • Final Decision, where qualified candidates are chosen, financial aid packages are made, and acceptance letters are sent to success.

Let’s have an in-depth analysis of each of the stages:

1. Screen and Sort:

Every college has different application phases. Some schools, like the ivy-league universities, entertain over 30,000 applications each year at the end of all the application phases.

Once the application deadline has elapsed, colleges begin to organize all the applications sent to them and forward them to the right regional admissions committee.

Moreover, some schools have a numerical scoring system in place that is used to measure the quality of applications sent by applicants.

While the first application readers are responsible for scoring an application in some schools, computer software generates the numerical score for candidates in others.

2. Individual Reads

The individual read stage is when fewer than three application officers read applications to establish that they are good.

3. First Read:

The first reader is responsible for establishing an early but reliable verdict on a new application submitted by a candidate.

These professionals may or may not be school staff but are only hired part-time.

Moreover, the first reading normally lasts for only about 10 minutes, and in some schools, the first reader drafts a recommendation of either Accept or Deny.

Application Summary and Notes

In a few cases, the first reader of an application is in charge of generating an application summary card, and thorough notes about every single application sent to the school.

While an application summary provides essential info about an applicant, note-taking is also essential and is passed on from the application officer to the application officer.

Moreover, the first reader is meant to convince the admissions committee group that an application is good enough for admission.

However, most schools utilize computer software as first readers rather than human beings. Here are some of the processes on application summary and note taking:

1. Second and Third Reads

Some colleges normally forward applications to the admission committee group immediately after the first reading phase is completed.

However, a handful of schools pass the application for two or more reads before it goes to the admission committee.

Schools that give applications for second reading do so because they want to ensure that the first reader accepts an application out of incompetence or ignorance.

Thus, the second and third read assessment stages are completed to establish authentication for the first read.

Moreover, the second reader is expected to attach extra notes on the applicants they have read, and they have the liberty to provide an opposite assessment of the views generated by the first reader.

2. Team Reads

All stages of college application reads are typically completed independently by college admission officers who may be hired for this role or are already a staff of the universities or colleges.

However, some schools that receive thousands of applications employ a team-based application reading model.

Moreover, several colleges decide against forwarding an average application to the admissions committee group after the reading stages either because several applications are far better, or the school has many applications and will not like to reconsider one that is not good enough.

3. Committee

The admission process may differ from school to school, but all schools use the same technique to select qualified candidates.

The admission committee is simply a collection of people responsible for assessing the application sent by a student and delivering the last verdict on it.

Admissions committees look at the notes, scores, and recommendations of the readers and decide if an applicant is good enough for their school or not.

Moreover, some schools, like Harvard University, employ a 2-step process to assess candidates: the sub-committee assessment stage and the full committee assessment stage.

The sub-committee is generally made up of a senior admission officer and selected faculty readers, and they are responsible for assessing applications before delivering a recommendation to the full admission committee after deciding through voting if an application is good or not.

Read more:

4. Final Decision

The full college admissions committee makes the final admission decision after considering the recommendations of the sub-admissions committee.

However, they base their decision on the size and selection standards of the school, which differ from school to school.

For instance, some schools can decide to pick a candidate over a more qualified one due to his or her cultural background.

The athletic experience of an applicant can also play a role for schools that pay strict attention to these characteristics.

Once the final decision has been made, successful applicants are evaluated for scholarships, loans, grants, and work-study opportunities before acceptance letters are sent to them.

How to Increase Your College Admission Chances

College admission is one of the most taxing stages of an academic year for schools. Admission staff must work extra hours to scrutinize applications and get their schools the best students.

So, sending in an excellent application is something that you should not take for granted, as you will be vying for a few admission spots against thousands of people.

The following tips will increase your chances of getting admitted into your most preferred school:

1. Have an excellent GPA after taking the most difficult classes:

The most important thing colleges look at when deciding which students to accept is a student’s GPA.

However, having a GPA as high as 4.0 will not get you into your dream school unless you achieved that GPA after you took the toughest classes.

2. Get a high score on a standardized test:

The SAT and ACT are two tests usually used by colleges to evaluate the academic abilities of their prospective students.

Thus, when applying to any school, ensure that you submit your best SAT or ACT score.

Moreover, your score on any of these tests will play a deeper role if your GPA is slightly lower than the minimum admission GPA of the school. So, give your very best when writing any of these tests.

3. Write an exceptional essay

Almost every college asks students to submit essays as one of their admission requirements. If that is the case with the school, you are seeking admission to, ensure that you give your best shot.

Ensure that your essay tells the admissions committee why you are good enough for them. Also, ensure that you proofread your essay for errors before submitting it.

4. Demonstrate interest

Colleges admit students that show demonstrated interest more than anyone else.

You can demonstrate your interest in a school by submitting an Early Decision application, connecting with lecturers and faculty members in your preferred department, and following the school’s social media activities.

Moreover, you can show demonstrated interest by taking a tour of the college facilities and developing a good relationship with the college admissions officers.

Thus, if you want to gain admission into a school, let the school know that you want to be there by showing demonstrated interest.

5. Submit strong recommendation letters

The quality of recommendation letters you submit to a school can increase or decrease your chances of admission into that school.

Thus, ensure that you get your recommendation letters from the appropriate sources, which may be your teacher or counselors, as the school demands, who have a good knowledge of your strengths and will be willing to translate them into an outstanding piece.

To guarantee your recommendation letter writers do a good job, ask them to write one at least a month before you submit your application to allow them enough time.

Frequently Asked Questions on How Long Do Admission Officers Read Applications

What is the purpose of the admissions office?

Employers often staff offices with admissions officers to help prospective students learn more about the school. The admissions office reviews applications from both new and transfer students.

Do admissions officers read all essays?

Yes, if the college has asked for it, every college essay is read (and often even if they did not ask for it). How the college reviews things will determine how many people will read the paper. It will be read by anywhere from one to four people.

What is the admission office in a university?

Admissions Office is the name for the office at a community college or State university that is in charge of recruiting new and transfer students and keeping in touch with them.

How are admissions decisions made?

The admissions committee will evaluate your application and all supporting materials before making a final decision. The high school visits and other interactions with college admissions officers and committees (such as the college interview and college fairs) are also reviewed.


The college admissions reading process has four stages: sorting, individual reads, committee and final decision.

However, to increase your chances of making it past the last stage, sending in a strong application is the key.

Although the tips listed above will enhance your chances of getting admission into your dream school, applying for access via the Early Decision round and maintaining a clean social media reputation are other valuable tips that can increase your admission chances.

Awesome one; I hope this article answered your question.

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