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Q&A With A Former UC Berkeley Admissions Officer

Stephen Friedfeld, Ph.D.
09/21/2017

Q&A with a former UC Berkeley Admissions Officer
Stephen Friedfeld, Ph.D.

Jamie is a former admissions officer at the University of California - Berkeley.

1. What can you share about the UC Berkeley application process that most people will not know?

I have worked in college admissions at four different institutions, and Berkeley is by far the most holistic review process that I have been a part of. They really believe in producing a community with diverse ideas, constituents and backgrounds.

2. What is the first thing you read in an application?

I always tried to read the essay first. That way I can read the application without any preconceived ideas of the individual student. If I look at the transcript or test scores first, I tend to anticipate what type of person the student is, which is unfair to the applicant.

3. What are the key qualities that you wish to see in a college essay?

I want to know what makes each student and their prospective unique. If you were the captain of the lacrosse team, why was your experience unique compared to all of the other lacrosse captains across the country? I find that essays in which a student discusses a change of perspective or period of growth in their life, tend to be some of the strongest.

4. Can you give an example of a mistake that caused an application to be rejected?

Remember that your application should be uniquely about you. If your dad is your hero and you write your essay about that, be sure that you talk about how your dad has impacted YOU. How do you view the world differently because of your dad? What have you gotten involved in because of your relationship? Remember that you are the applicant!

 

(Stephen has 10+ years of admissions experience at Cornell University and Princeton University. He is a founder of AcceptU, an admissions counseling group comprised entirely of former admissions officers from highly selective colleges and universities. For questions or to learn more about AcceptU, contact Stephen (stephen@acceptu.com, 617-424-0700) or visit www.acceptu.com. )

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