What we look for in your application

By Heather Daniels, Director of Admissions
Photo of Heather Daniels, Director of Admissions

From transcripts, test scores and extracurricular activities to the application itself, applying to Colorado State involves opening a window into your world for our team here in the Office of Admissions.

Whether you’re considering applying to CSU or have already hit the submit button, you may wonder what we’re looking for as we review the information you’ve shared with us.  I’m here to turn the tables and give you an inside look at the world of Admissions at Colorado State.

Read on to find out what we look for when reviewing your application.

1. You’re ready for the academic challenge

In the Office of Admissions, our job is to make sure that you’re equipped for the road ahead. We use a holistic review of the application to look for indicators of academic success.

What is a holistic review? In short, it takes much more into consideration than grades and test scores alone.

Don’t get me wrong — transcripts and test scores are important indicators of your readiness. But, we also understand that your grades can be affected by things outside of your control like major life events, learning styles, or increased course rigor, such as AP, IB, or Honors classes.

It’s important that we take these additional factors into consideration and give applicants with different experiences a fair assessment. Letters of recommendation, co-curricular involvement and personal statements allow us to have a well-rounded view of readiness.

For example, an applicant with otherwise satisfactory grades may have experienced a challenging personal situation during their educational career. Grades could have dropped temporarily as a result, leaving the applicant with a lackluster GPA.

At CSU, we ask for an academic explanation to help us better understand the circumstances.  Rather than not admitting this applicant based on grades alone, our team looks to other elements of the application, such as the academic explanation or a personal statement, for insight into temporary grade drops.

In short, I implore you to take great care with every piece of your application. Honesty about your circumstance or a strong letter of recommendation or personal statement could be exactly what we need to be certain you’re ready to become a Ram.

2. You will be a positive addition to our community

Have you seen the hashtag #Ramily floating around?

It’s no surprise that our students connect CSU to the word “family.” Our community is built on support, respect, and helpfulness. If you visit you’ll see that there’s a special feeling here that you won’t find on any other campus in Colorado.

A community this strong takes work to build and develop. In the Office of Admissions, we do our part by ensuring that incoming students are well-balanced individuals and understand what we expect of them as Rams.

When reviewing applications, we look for students who believe in taking action and getting involved. This could present as participation in a hobby, club, organization, volunteer work, or job. A transcript, letter of recommendation, or personal statement can speak to these experiences.

In short, we want to be sure that you are well-rounded and ready for the hands-on experience that will be a major part of your education at CSU. Our programs balance both in- and out-of-the-classroom learning. Applicants who have real-world experiences will be better prepared for Colorado State than those with classroom experience alone.

If you’re a freshman applicant and are honing your personal statement, keep in mind that we embrace the process, not just the result. Our students understand that learning is about the journey and sometimes failure is a large part of it. Triumphs alone don’t just speak to this. We welcome personal statements that reveal lessons learned from trying situations.

Sound good?

At CSU we value unique experiences and backgrounds, and will take pride in reviewing your application in a fair and holistic way.

If you have questions about the process or are unsure about parts of the application, please contact us. Our admissions counselors are here to help and would love to hear from you.

Heather Daniels
Author: Heather Daniels

Heather is the Director of the CSU Office of Admissions. She has over 18 years of college admissions experience, five of which have been as a proud member of the CSU Admissions team. She enjoys using her experience to help prospective students from around the world access a college education.