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Inside Scoop: What a Real Admissions Counselor Says About the College Application Process

The college application review process is still a mystery to most high school students. They spend years studying, earning good grades, and participating in extracurricular activities and then hours completing the application and drafting the perfect college essay, but then what? Bentley’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions shines some light on what happens after the essay is finished and the application submitted.

Q: Does the admissions team really read the whole application?
A: Of course we do — students invest so much time and thought into what they send to us so we want to take the appropriate amount of time to read it all! We want to learn if they are the right fit for Bentley. High school courses, grades and test scores are important, but so are a student’s personal characteristics and how we believe they can contribute to Bentley based on their contributions to their school and community. There are so many opportunities presented to Bentley students that we want to find the students who are going to take advantage of them — whether it’s internships, study abroad, service-learning, clubs and organizations, or much more!

Q: How important are standardized test scores?
A: Many colleges, like Bentley, are now test-optional. Standardized test scores can certainly be an important component of the review process, but because we are looking holistically at our applications, it is only one factor.

Q: I know a Bentley alumnus, should I have them write me a letter of recommendation?
A: We require two recommendations — one from a teacher and one from a guidance/college counselor. If the applicant feels that there are people who can add a different perspective on the student, such as a Bentley alum, pastor, employer, or coach, they can certainly write a recommendation to be included in the student’s file. I would just caution students that they don’t need too many recommendations to tell us what a great person they are.

Q: What is the one thing to avoid in your application?
A: When students submit their Bentley application, they should definitely make sure that they proofread their application! It’s never a good reflection to read an essay, email, or anything else the student submits that tells us how much they want to attend a different school. We know they are applying to eight schools on average — just don’t use their name in the Bentley essay!

Q: What was one of the best essay topics you can remember?
A: There have been so many great essays over the years. The essays that stand out, are the ones where I could picture this student being an awesome roommate, committed group member for class projects (of which there are many here!) and motivated member of one of our clubs or organizations.

Q: So what is the secret to getting accepted to Bentley?
A: There is no secret. Next question . . .

Just kidding. This is a process about sharing your personality, contributions and being yourself to see if we think you will fit in to the Bentley campus.