The Applicant Statement Uncovered

Maybe I’ve watched too many CSI or Law & Order-like shows, but I seriously believe I’m like an investigator when I’m looking at college applications. I am always looking for evidence of success.  When reviewing applications, the first thing we review is a student’s high school record. We are paying special attention to the types of rigorous courses, and the quantity of those courses, that the student has taken during all four years of high school. We also look at overall performance and trends over the entire high school record. In investigator speak: discovering any patterns or abnormalities.

We do use the ACT score to look at another credible source of information about a student’s ability to be successful in the classroom. Is the ACT consistent with the evidence we found on the transcript? If not, we need to dig further.

The application itself gives us a ton of information about the student outside of the classroom: activities, awards, honors, and employment help round out the student’s profile. One piece of the application (which I love) that stresses students out the most is the dreaded application statement. The application statement gives us an opportunity to learn about the student, who they are, what’s important to them, what they have learned from their high school experience, and why they are ready to be successful at UW-Green Bay.

I’m going to let you in on an Admissions Director secret: we want to admit people to our universities. We don’t like denying anyone this opportunity, but we have to do our best to ensure there is enough evidence from high school, or their transfer institution, to show they are going to be successful when they enroll. If you ever are worried about admissibility to UWGB, please reach out to our office. We have a team of people who want to help guide students to UW-Green Bay.

What makes a great application statement?

Authenticity– tell us about you and your experiences. Tell us about what you’re passionate about, what you’ve learned from high school- successes you’re proud of and struggles that taught life lessons. We want to hear about the stories behind the grades, classes and ACT scores. We are looking for evidence that you’re ready to be successful in college. Success in college is not getting into your desired University, it is taking advantage of opportunities and persevering through four of the most life transforming years of your life until you graduate from college. Those are the skills we are looking for.

Write well- Proof, spell check, and have someone else read it before you hit send.

Don’t make excuses- We all struggle sometimes. Things happen in high school that impact our ability to be successful. These are opportunities to learn, grow and find a way though. These are the same skills you need to be successful in college. Tell us what happened, but focus on the solution or resolution. What did you learn or how are you being supported now and finding success?

For more info about how to make your application essay great, contact our Admissions advisors at or 920-465-2111.


About the author: Jennifer Jones is the Director of Admissions at UW-Green Bay. Jen has 17 years of experience in higher education, and has read a lot of application essays. She resides in Green Bay with her husband, two small children, and energetic dog.