In college admissions, a “hook” is something that makes a candidate stand out in a competitive review process. Students who possess a characteristic, experience or quality that is desired by the institution are said to have a “hook.” Perhaps you are a tuba player destined to dot a famous “i.” Or, maybe you are interested in pursuing a major that is traditionally under-subscribed. The “hook” question is one that reminds students that admission offices ultimately make decisions that fulfill the needs and mission of their institution.
The “hook” may be another aspect of your admissions file which could be an extra incentive to the admissions office to send you the acceptance letter. Depending on the requirements and priorities of the college, such qualities could include but are not limited to talents such as athletics or music to legacies to development admits to diversity.
In my opinion, there is no single one “hook” for admission to any college. Parents believe these admission myths that seem to take on a life of their own. It does not matter what characteristic of diversity we are talking about: race, sex, religion, country of origin, fill in the next blank—it is rare that there is a college that says “all you have to be is this” and you are admitted. While these can be factors for consideration, the best college application is one where the student focuses primarily on making sure his or her accomplishments academically and in extracurricular endeavors are clearly shown. Students need to get to know the university of choice and demonstrate that knowledge in the application. Take advantage of opportunities to visit and engage with admissions options—virtual or in-person. Write strong essays where required. We are in an age of holistic admission. I see parents and students disappointed time and time again when they try to pick a “gimmick” as the basis of admission.
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Weil College Advising, LLC