College Applications: Advice from Advisors

Applying to college is an exciting (and stressful) time of a student’s life. The application process can be overwhelming and sometimes students might wish they could know what goes through an Admission Advisor’s head while they are reviewing applications. We have gathered some insight from UW-Green Bay’s admissions team on what they think are the most important factors in college admissions.

Let’s meet our experts, Admissions Advisors from UW-Green Bay:

Ryan Stewart, Admissions Advisor for Wisconsin Students
      Fun Fact: Ryan’s favorite superhero is Spider-Man!!!!!!!

Marisa Leza, Bilingual Admissions Advisor
     Fun Fact: Marisa’s favorite movie is Dumb and Dumber.

 Katy Jarosz, International Recruitment Specialist
     Fun Fact: Katy lived in Wuhan, China for two years before coming to Green Bay.

 Bridget Derge, Assistant Director of Admissions for Recruitment
      Fun Fact: Bridget’s favorite food is Dove chocolates.

What do you wish you knew about college Admissions?

Many student may be asking, what is the most important factor in admission decisions? Katy Jarosz, UW-Green Bay’s International Recruitment Specialist, explained that it would be very hard to narrow down the most important factor of in admission decision, but “one of the most insightful parts is getting to read students’ personal statements, since the personal statement is the only part of the application where we get to hear students talk about themselves in their own words.”

Marisa Leza, UW-Green Bay’s Bilingual Admissions Advisor, agreed that she thinks a very important factor is the personal statement because “it provides a better insight of who the candidate is.” She also really enjoys reading each and every student’s individual story, rather than just looking at the numbers involved with admissions.

Even though we may not be able to read Admission Advisor’s minds, many students can be assured that it isn’t just about the ACT score and GPA. Admission Advisors truly do care about you, who you are, and who you will be as a student on their campus. Be sure that your essay expresses just that.

Personal Statement: Where to Begin?

When it’s time to think about writing your personal statement, or application essay, many students are unsure where to begin. It’s important to keep in mind that Admission advisors are looking for your story, along with all the ups and downs that got you to where you are in life.

Don’t just focus on the shortcomings. As Ryan Stewart, UW-Green Bay Admission Advisor, states, “You don’t need a sap story to make a great essay. But at the same time, write about things that you are passionate about to allow our advisors to walk in your shoes.” It’s important to let the admissions team see how you’ve dealt with the setbacks in your story and what drives you to keep focusing on your academic goals.

Bridget Derge, UW-Green Bay’s Assistant Director of Admissions, suggests, “Address the areas that make you cringe. If you wish there was something on your transcript that you could erase, the admissions review committee probably does, too. So talk about it.” This way you are able to discuss the hurdles and what you did to overcome those setbacks in your life. The admissions team wants to be able to see how you got to where you are and how you are going to continue to be successful in college and after graduation.

Comprehensive Review? What’s that about?

UW-Green Bay Admission Advisors refer to giving each and every application “comprehensive review,” but do we even know what that exactly means? Comprehensive review refers to applications being thoroughly reviewed with every admission factor, including transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, personal statements, letters of recommendation, and college prep courses.

As Bridget stated, “The application statement also allows students to share information about what else occupies their time aside from being a student and how they balance those things along with their academics. We want to learn about what goals they have established for their future and how they plan to achieve them. We want to know as much about the student as we can [to make an informed admissions decision]. We want to know who they are as a high school student and who they want to become as a UW-Green Bay student.” Therefore, include your involvement throughout your academic career and everything that got you to where you are in your life. This will help show the admissions team how you will fit at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Important of Extra-Curricular Activities

You always hear people talk about the importance of extra-curricular activities and being involved, but knowing why that matters to admission advisors is also important. Katy explains that being involved in extra-curricular activities shows admission advisors that you “are still able to maintain good grades, demonstrate you are responsible, and that you have great time management skills.” Bridget also added that extra-curricular activities are “a great way to see leadership skills being developed and a student’s potential to grow.” These are all very important factors that show if a student will have great dedication to their studies; however, the most important factor is time management because it shows if a student can balance their commitments during college.

Additional Advice – What to do now?

Below is additional advice from all of the Admission Advisors. View their advice as a great tool to help you with applying and getting accepted to UW-Green Bay, but remember that the door is always open to UW-Green Bay admission. They are there to help you and want you to become successful. Take advantage of their help and assistance to become a successful student and UW-Green Bay graduate. All of their advice includes things that you can start now. The earlier you start, the better the chances are of finding the right college and being prepared to start your studies.

Ryan: “Work hard all the way through high school, don’t wait until your senior year to kick it into gear.”

Marisa: “Tour as many schools as you possibly can, it is not just applying, but also visiting the schools. It will provide a better description of what the school has to offer. Take advantage of all the college prep programs and get involved to prepare for college.”

Katy: “Don’t be afraid to contact your admissions counselors! We’re here to help you through the whole process, and the best part of our jobs is when we get to meet with or talk with students and help them decide if this is the right school for them. Feel free to ask lots of questions – we’re here to help!”

Bridget: “Ask for help when you need it. With admission applications, with financial aid questions. People who work in higher education do so because they want to provide access to college for students. We are here to help. Take advantage of that. We are here for you and to support you.”

To contact advisors at the UW-Green Bay Office of Admissions, send us a message at or call 920-465-2111.

This post was prepared and written by Carli Meyer, UW-Green Bay Student and Admissions Intern. Carli is a business major form Oconto, Wisconsin, who transferred to UW-Green Bay in 2016.