On-site admissions: An alternative form of college applications

Feb. 11, 2024, 1:38 p.m. | By Giorgia Toti | 5 months, 1 week ago

College application season often leads to immense senior stress, but is there another possibility?

After hours spent writing and rewriting essays, what awaits seniors is months upon months of suspense waiting for one email that will determine the next step of their lives. College application season can be a very stressful time of year for anyone looking to gain a higher education outside of high school. However, there is an option that many students don’t know of: on-site applications. 

In the on-site application process, students go through an expedited application process which allows them to receive their acceptance the day their application is reviewed. The process is extremely quick, students aren’t left waiting for hours on end. “As students, you get to fill out your application and get your admissions decision all in the same 20 to 30 minutes,” Lauren Lohff, admissions representative for Frostburg University, says. 

MCPS on-site admission events are put together by MCPS College and Career Information Coordinators. However, individual high schools like Blair can host their own on-site admission events. Salisbury College and Frostburg College hosted on-site admission events for Blair students earlier this year. The event was held during the morning in the college and career center. Students walked into the college-paraphernalia-plastered room, shook off their nerves and met with the recruiter, and then relaxed as they received their acceptance all in the span of a few minutes. 

Lohff explains that schools like Frostburg will bring paper applications that students can fill out the day of, rather than the online form the day before. “Typically, we just bring a paper copy of what we have online when we do on-site admissions. But there are a lot of students who might fill one out the day before so that way we can have it in the computer and everything,” Lohff says. 

Jazmine Delos Reyes, Blairs College and Career Information Coordinator, sends out sign-up links for both school and county-wide on-site admission events to potential applicants. Students fill out the sign-up form, provided by Delos-Reyes. Then on the day of the event, they will fill out a paper form or online form provided by the colleges, attend an optional interview, and half an hour later receive their decision. 

Though the interview portion is optional, many students opt in since it is an opportunity to reveal their personality. “On-site is more about you as a person while normal applications I feel like are more about your school life, like your grades,” Malin Maguire, a Blair senior who applied to Salisbury through on-site admissions, says. 

During interviews, admission counselors ask questions ranging from students’ extracurriculars to reasons why students want to attend a specific college. Therefore, it’s crucial that students research colleges beforehand so they are prepared for any college-specific questions they might be asked. “I would have a student make sure they had done the research on the school they were doing an interview with—whether that'd be Frostburg or somewhere else,” Lohff says.

Students shouldn’t be nervous about interviews as they are meant to be less about academics and more about who they are as a person. Blair Senior Abenezer Debele, who applied to Salisbury, found himself nervous before the interview, but was at ease as soon as it started. “I mean, when I first went there, I felt like I didn’t know what to expect, but after that I was fine,” Debele says. Debele found the admissions representatives to be extremely welcoming, even taking a picture with his after he received his acceptance. 

Benefits of on-site applications

While the majority of the application process is the same, on-site applications tend to be less stressful since students receive both decisions and merit aid scholarships almost immediately. “Once you get in that interview, you'll know your decision [immediately] instead of waiting a month or two months,” Delos-Reyes says. 

Since many merit-based scholarships are first-come first-serve, on-site applicants have the benefit of receiving more money. “So if you're the first one to apply and on-site as well, and they give [a scholarship] to you right then and there you get the longer end of the stick,” Delos Reyes says.

Most schools with on-site admissions are gracious when it comes to academics, as they look at applications with a more holistic approach. “At Frostburg we have something here called a holistic process for students who may not necessarily meet our minimum GPA requirement. One of the things they're allowed to do in order to boost their application… is to do an interview.” Lohff says.

Who should take advantage of on-site admissions?

If you are interested in a school that offers on-site admissions, visit the Blair College and Career Center and sign up. Not only do students receive their decision day of, but also learn of any potential scholarships with no binding contract. On-site admissions lessen the stress of the college process and provide strong options for students and their families. “It does feel like you're truly showing off who you are to the colleges, [showing off] the full picture of yourself when you're doing on site,” senior on-site applicant Kieran Ferguson says.

Last updated: Feb. 12, 2024, 7:40 a.m.

Giorgia Toti. Hello! I am Giorgia Toti, a junior at MBHS, and this is my first year as a writer on Silver Chips Online. Along with a love of writing I am a part of Girl Scouts and am finishing my final Gold Award project, a coxswain … More »

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