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College Admissions Facts: The Mystery of College Admissions (Debunked)

Nancy Gibson from Denison University and Michelle Brown from The Ohio State University explain how admissions works — and why all the hype (and confusion) around college admissions is just not necessary. Get college admissions facts from the ones making college admissions decisions.


This presentation was part of Your Teen Magazine’s College Event Columbus in April 2015. To see all the presentations from the College Event Columbus, click here.

The Mystery of College Admissions


Nancy Gibson: So my name is Nancy Gibson. I’m a senior associate director of admissions at Denison University, and I’ve been in admissions in higher education for about twenty-six years. Started off down the road at Capital University, and worked there for six years. And then headed over to Denison after that. So, certainly is great to be able to come and chat with you tonight and I’ll let my colleague talk.

Michelle Brown: Hi I’m Michelle Brown. I am at the Ohio State University. I have been in higher ed. and admissions for twenty-six years. Five of those at Xavier University in Cincinnati, and the rest here at Ohio State. Besides working at the admissions office, I also oversee the Ohio State Academy Program, which is our college credit plus program. So if you have a question about that, I can also talk about that afterword, because we don’t really have time.

Nancy Gibson: So obviously there’s a lot of hype with the college admissions program. I think a lot of people view it as a mysterious thing, and certainly the headline “Toughest Year Ever In College Admissions”, “A Student Applies to 20 Colleges” and most recently, “One Student Gets Into All 8 Ivy League Schools”, there’s a lot out there. What is this hype all about and is it necessary? No! It’s not necessary. And I think a lot of times it makes people very, very nervous about the process. And it just seems very daunting.

We’re going to talk a little bit about the Holistic Review and what that means. Ultimately, we are looking at each individual student. We are picking apart their application, we’re making a full assessment of “Is this a student that would be a good fit for this institutions, and can they persist in the classroom and be successful?” So when we’re doing a Holistic Review, we’re looking at all those components, versus just a connect the dots and you’re either in or denied. It doesn’t work like that. So Holistic Review, that’s what that means. And then there’s always that confusion about “Best Schools” and “Most Selective Schools” and all the lists out there. And all those kinds of things can make it very, very confusing.

(For the rest of the presentation, please view our attached video)

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