School Counselors

Optional Essays

Thoughts, musings, and wisdom from Denison’s Director of Admission

Note from Drew Riley, Director of Admission

We often refer to each other as “the other side of the desk.” But I don’t think that mindset really describes what we hope to accomplish in conjunction with you. In an ideal world, college counselors and admission staff are both working on the same project, with the same goal, from different angles. We hope this corner of our website will make your part of the project easier as you work with students who may be right for Denison.

We know that some of our greatest assets are the relationships we foster with school communities around the world—and we are here to answer any questions you may have or to provide any assistance we can to make sure those relationships stay strong. Check out our staff page to see who your contact is at Denison. I am also happy to work with you regardless of where you are located. If we can be of any help – if you want to have an honest conversation about a prospective student, if you want an expert to talk on a panel, or anything else at all – please don’t hesitate to reach out.

- Drew Riley, Director of Admission


Denison’s Application Review

Denison takes a holistic approach to application review, meaning that we consider a broad range of factors when determining who we invite to join our campus community.

  • Most important for us is academic preparation, measured by individual course performance and selection across a student’s high school career, taken in the context of the school they attend. Every student admitted to Denison is capable of succeeding in our rigorous academic environment.
  • Other factors can play a very important role as well, including a student’s personal characteristics, comments from their teachers or counselor, and the level of interest the student has demonstrated in Denison.

Speaking of demonstrated interest…

Demonstrated interest is tracked in a variety of ways because we understand that not all students will have the opportunity or resources to visit our campus. This year, in particular, we are taking a broad approach to evaluating how interested a student is in Denison.

Of course, the best way to indicate interest is by applying through our binding Early Decision plan. Applying to Denison Early Decision is a serious commitment, and it’s one that we don’t take lightly, which is why these students have a distinct advantage in the admission process. We also understand that it’s difficult for some families to make that commitment without knowing exactly what the financial situation will look like. If you are working with a student who is considering applying Early Decision but is being held back due to financial uncertainty, please reach out to us, and we will do our best to provide a preview of that student’s financial aid so they can enter into the ED agreement confidently. Additionally, keep in mind that Denison meets 100% of demonstrated financial need.


Ready to Impress – At Denison, career preparation and exploration is central to the experience. The Austin E. Knowlton Center for Career Exploration is among the most robust and forward-thinking career centers in the country. That’s why we have 16 career counselors, double or triple that of most of our peers. Additionally, our Knowlton Center offers career preparation beyond the typical résumé writing, internships, and career counseling seen everywhere—our state-of-the-art programs work to build relevant skill sets and experience needed in the modern-day workplace. And Denison Edge’s new location in downtown Columbus will provide further career-prep resources. The proof is in the results: 96% of recent graduates are working in their desired field or position.

A Pragmatic Approach to the Liberal Arts – We are constantly searching for ways to adapt our educational experience for the 21st century, with the goal of preparing students with the skills, knowledge, and connections they’ll need to be successful after graduation. With programs like Global Commerce, Data Analytics, Financial Economics, Global Health, Politics & Public Affairs, and Journalism, our faculty are focused on making sure a Denison education is always relevant.

Denison Seminars - Denison seminars are team-taught courses that take students off-campus to learn around the world. Unique, interdisciplinary courses bring multiple perspectives together in the classroom and beyond.

*Meeting 100% of demonstrated need - We are committed to making Denison affordable for every admitted student. All applicants are considered for merit scholarships, and for those who apply for need-based aid, we will meet 100% of demonstrated need. Learn more about scholarships and Financial Aid here.


Visit Denison

We love hosting our school counseling partners at on our “home on The Hill.” Campus visit components for counselors include:

We ask that you register in advance of your visit so that we can prepare to safely host you on campus.


Slate.org

We encourage you to use Slate.org throughout the application cycle. A resource free to high school counselors, Slate.org allows counselors to see students’ application statuses. You also have the ability to upload documents, such as transcripts and letters of recommendation, directly into students’ applications. Once admission decisions have been released, you will be able to view them at Slate.org. Many of the hundreds of Slate partner colleges utilize Slate.org to help keep counselors informed about their students’ applications.

Social Media Press Kit

If you are hosting Denison for a visit, we encourage you to download our Social Media Press Kit. Designed to be used on your school’s Instagram, our Press Kit replaces traditional poster mailings for a more sustainable and customizable way to notify interested students of an upcoming visit from Denison.

Read our Press Kit Usage Guide

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