Junior Case Study Night helps make sense of college admission decisions

College-Admissions-OfficeJunior Case Study Night took place on Feb. 6, and it was an opportunity for junior students and parents to better understand the factors that go into making a college admission decision.

St. John’s college counselors accomplished this by bringing in representatives from schools around the country, including Xavier University, the College of Charleston, the University of Chicago, and many more.

Prior to Case Study Night, every person planning to attend received a packet that contained in-depth applications from four different students applying to the fictional Millburn University. It contained everything from their transcript to their extracurriculars and teacher recommendations.

On the night of the event, students arrived with their parents, but were split up into different rooms. Each room had either one or two representatives from colleges; however, the name of the college they represented was not provided until the end of the night. After everyone had arrived, each room was given a task: to decide the fate of the four students who applied to Millburn University. Every room had to admit two, waitlist one, and deny one.

It was tough to decide what to do, as each student had a very different life. While one was strong in terms of academics, another was being considered for a soccer scholarship. However, with the assistance of the college admissions representatives explaining what they would do, every room made a collective decision for each student.

Afterward, all of the rooms met in the auditorium to debrief. There, the college admissions representatives revealed what colleges they work for. In addition, attendees were able to ask the representatives questions about the admissions process.

Furthermore, they gave advice to the students, as the process can be overwhelming at times. For instance, one representative suggested attending one of the summer sessions colleges offer. This is because it looks better to do something you are passionate about than spend your summers watching Netflix.

Many students found Junior Case Study Night helpful, like Hien Ngo ’20. “It was helpful because now we know what colleges are looking for when they are reading applications. Also, how one factor can greatly impact your chances of getting in.”

Another junior, Thomas Cohen, said, “It gave me a chance to look inside a system that not many people fully understand.”  

Ms. Martin, the director of college counseling at St. John’s, said “[The college counselors] hope that by attending Junior Case Study Night we were able to take the blinders of how admission offices make their admission decision. There is not just one component or a couple that factor into an admissions decision; it is the entire package colleges look at, including grades, essays, student contributions within their community, special circumstances, and so much more. Colleges don’t have one set formula for offering admission.”

If you were unable to attend the Junior Case Study Night, the college counselors put up the resources on Canvas under Class of 2020 so all juniors could access them.

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