Donald Bishop shares elite admissions insight


Mike Droogan

Families were invited to a presentation about the college process from a leader in college admissions.

Notre Dame Vice President of Admissions Mr. Donald Bishop came to Malvern on October 5 to give students and parents advice on navigating admissions at the top 100 colleges.

Bishop, a Notre Dame alumnus, previously worked in admissions at Ohio Wesleyan University, Cornell University School of Hotel Management, Creighton University, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University before returning to Notre Dame.

Bishop said his work in admissions specializes on econometrics.

“An econometrician is an economist who uses a lot a of statistical analysis to judge whether something an economist is saying is true,” Bishop said. “An econometrician in admissions would look at how many people applied and how a class is shaping up based on who is admitted.”

“As an econometrician, I use numbers to prove that other numbers are inaccurate,” Bishop said. “People are too caught up and numbers and statistics today.”

The orchestra level of the Duffy center was nearly full for his presentation, which was open to all parents and students from Malvern Prep, Notre Dame Academy and Villa Maria Academy.

Without the aid of a powerpoint or any other visuals, Bishop was able to use his humor and knowledge to get him through the presentation, Nick Gatti ’17 said.

“One stat I found really interesting was that 10% of your success in college can be predicted by test scores,” Gatti said, “while 30% can be predicted by your GPA and extracurriculars. But people still stress out about SATs.”

One of the reasons Bishop delivers these speeches is so that students can have that type of change in perspective.

“There are a lot of rumors about the college process that cause unnecessary stress,” Bishop said. “I come to dispel those rumors.”

Director of College Counseling Ian Harkness appreciated Notre Dame’s holistic approach to admissions. Harkness worked in Gettysburg University Admissions before coming to Malvern this year.

“I like that he said Notre Dame really emphasized character,” Harkness said. “At such an elite school it was nice to hear that they look at much more than the numbers.”

“There are a lot of things changing in the admissions world,” Harkness said, “so it is good to have relationships with a guy like [Bishop].”

Although Bishop’s econometry relies heavily on number crunching, he advised students stay away from overanalyzing statistics.

“Don’t look at the rankings,” Bishop said. “Go visit the school yourself and make your own opinion. Pick a school that feels like the right place.”

Head of School Mr. Christian Talbot was able to connect with Bishop through the facilitation of a board member.

“I met Mr. Bishop at the house of Steve Cloetingh who is the Chair of the Board of Trustees,” Talbot said. “At that event he gave a truncated version of what he talked about and Mr. Cloetingh asked him if he would be willing to come to speak at Malvern. We said we would love to have him.”

Although the talk was promoted as Bishop sharing what it takes to gain admission into “the top 100 colleges,” Talbot felt this was a misnomer. He believes that it is hard to label any college as a general “top college.”

“The better question to ask is ‘What is a top college for me and my family?’” Talbot said. “The answer to that question can be radically different from student to student.”

Bishop said the most important advice to take home is to “know your strengths and know where you stand in comparison to your potential peers.”

He also emphasized the importance of staying positive throughout college admissions.

“The more you laugh about it, the easier it is,” Bishop said with a smile.