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What Do College Admissions Look For

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Get Their Attention With Ap And Honors Classes

College Admissions 101: What Do Colleges Look For? | The Princeton Review

Taking Advanced Placement and honors classes means additional hard work in high school but its a surefire way to impress the admissions committee.

Colleges look for these advanced classes on your transcripts because they:

  • Prove that you embrace academic challenges.
  • Show youre ready to take on a college curriculum.
  • Add strength to your transcript by increasing your GPA.

Since these are some of the top qualities colleges are looking for in students, your AP and honors classes will speak volumes about your academic potential. Plus, its a way to earn college credit for nearly free!

What Are The First Steps Someone Should Take When Deciding To Apply To A College

The most important thing is to be thinking about college before your senior year in high school. The more time that you have to think about what you want to do and where you want to go after high school, the better.

I always recommend limit their applications to 3-5 colleges so that they can manage the follow-up work that comes with an application. That means you need to do some research before applying and hopefully visit a few campuses so you have a better idea of what you like.

What Happens After The Review

After reading the application, the admissions officer will write up a summary of the file and include a recommendation for the applicant. Depending on the college, a second admissions reader may also evaluate the application.

For more info about college admission and scholarship essays and interviews, sign up for self-paced courses and our award-winning StoryBuilder writing platform FREE at on Instagram!

Will Geiger is co-founder of A graduate of Wake Forest and Penn, Will was previously Senior Assistant Director of Admissions at Kenyon College where he personally reviewed over 10,000 admissions applications and essays and oversaw the merit aid program; Associate Director of College Counseling at a high school in New Haven, Connecticut; and Marketing Manager at Story2.

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How I Got Into Princeton Series

Interested in how other successful applicants have navigated the college admissions process?

Weve created an entire series that takes a deep dive into the journeys of current and past Princeton students.

Check out Ericas story, the first in this series.

People telling me that I was worthless only drove me to study more, to work harder, to prove them wrong.

You can find a summary of all of these stories here: How I Got Into Princeton Series.

What Colleges Are Looking For In A Successful Applicant

14 Must

Are you ready to find your fit?

Applying to college can be an overwhelming process, especially if youre trying to get into schools where competition is stiff. There are several common factors that most colleges consider when looking at potential applicants; however, the key to acceptance isnt just doing well. You want to show admissions officers what makes you stand out from the crowd.

High School GPA and Class Rank

Your GPA in high school shows colleges how successful you were in the field of academics and whether or not you buckled down and worked hard. Colleges look not only at your overall GPA but also at how well you did in individual classes. If your school has a class rank, that shows how much competition you faced with grades and performance to reach a particular level.

AP and Honors ClassesBeing able to show prospective colleges that you challenged yourself academically is important. Admissions officers will look at AP, honors, International Baccalaureate and other college prep classes you take in high school to see how well you handled the course load as this is a good indicator of how youll do in college.

Challenging Extracurricular ActivitiesColleges also want to see students who stretch themselves beyond the limits of the classroom. The kinds of activities you choose say a lot about your personality and even your morals. Whether or not you stick with your chosen undertakings exhibits your ability to commit to important projects in the long term.

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Dazzle The Dean With Your Talents And Passions

Your profile will be more impressive to colleges if you show that youre truly committed to your passion projects.

Admissions committees are curious to see how your personal interests fuel your drive and work ethic. So if youre deeply invested in a video game league, a church event, or a comic book zine, dont be afraid to own it in your application.

TIP: Youll stand out even more if you go that extra mile and add a portfolio or a video that exhibits your abilities to your application.

Additional Factors To Consider

Many;colleges set aside spaces for students who may not meet traditional criteria but will add to the class diversity. Geographic location, racial or ethnic background, extenuating or unusual life circumstances and experience living or studying overseas may all be influential. Evidence suggests that in some cases applying early decision may also increase the chances of admission.

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What Do Colleges Look For

You have a need, which is to get into a college that you like and where you will thrive and grow. Colleges have needs too. They dont simply admit the requisite number of students; instead, they build a class. They purposely construct a group of students that;reflect the priorities of the institution, and those priorities often define who they take and who they dont.

Think about who a college employs in determining what students they might accept. For example, University A offers majors in Business, Chemistry, English, and History among many others. They also have faculty who teach Botany , Peace and Conflict Resolution, and Mandarin Chinese. If they have no students who want to study in these departments, how can they a) continue paying these faculty and b) continue offering such a robust volume of courses across a very broad spectrum?

Additionally, if they have a field hockey team, they need to make sure they have a goalie. The marching band needs a French horn player. Schools will want a student body that comes close to reflecting the diversity seen in society at large.

This information has important ramifications for you as you prepare for college.

Which Factors Most Affect The Admission Decision

What Do Admissions Officers Look For in College Applications?

Many small, selective colleges pay greater attention to personal statements and essays, teacher and counselor recommendations, leadership experiences and the individual talents of applicants. They typically offer the chance for a face-to-face interview.

Large, public state university systems often use a mathematical formula based on a student’s grade point average and scores on the SAT or ACT. They tend to favor in-state applicants.

Regardless of the college’s evaluation system, your students should present a well-rounded picture of their skills, experience and personal traits. Applications should highlight their ability to succeed at each particular institution and what they can contribute to student life on campus.

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How Can Students Evaluate If A University Is A Good Fit For Them Before Starting The College Admissions Process

There is no better way to find out if a university is a good fit than visiting campus. However it’s not always possible for students to visit every college they plan to apply to. The most important part about the right fit is for students to understand what is important to them first.

You need to think about how far from home you want to go, if you want to live in a big city or a small town, and those types of things. You don’t have to know what you want to major in right away, but you should be thinking about what you are interested in. It doesn’t help you to apply to a college if they don’t offer majors in the area that you want to study.

How Does Someone In College Admissions Read Your Application

by Will Geiger, on Jul 22, 2021 11:49:03 AM

The person who reads your application in a college admissions office might be a dedicated admissions officer, a faculty member, or a student or part-time essay reader. They are reading your essay in the context of your application overall.

We read applications holistically. I said that; hundreds of times per year in presentations to students, parents, and guidance counselors. Holistic admissions was our way of saying that admissions decisions were made in an extremely nuanced way, where we aimed to look at each student individually.

In this post, I am going to break down exactly how I read student applications when I was an admissions officer, which will give you a sense of how the process works at selective colleges. Here are the areas that I was thinking about :

  • What happens after the review?
  • Note that every college is going to review applications a little differently, but 95% of it is going to be the same! By the end of this post, you will have a solid understanding of what’s going through the admissions reader’s mind as they are reviewing your application!

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    The Courses Youve Taken

    Suppose, for example, you have a 97 GPAnot bad! Consider, however, that during high school you have opted never to take an honors or AP/IB class, despite breezing;through your coursework. Consider, also, that you dropped your foreign language after only 2 years and science after 3 years in favor of less rigorous electives. Are you lazy??? Do mere grades mean more than substance?

    On the other hand, think about a student with a slightly lower but still respectable GPA who has shown;academic rigor and taken challenging high school classes including higher-level foreign language. You have taken some honors classes and even a college-level class or International Baccalaureate ). The GPA, while a little lower, will be recognized as rigorous, and make you a more appealing candidate.

    The Eight Factors College Admissions Officials Look For In Your Application

    What Does The Future of School Admissions Look Like?

    Parents and students in the college application process always want to know: what factors do college admissions officials consider in each application? How do they evaluate and judge students when picking whom to admit and whom to not?

    College admissions in the United States isnt a science. At a recent event organized by the University of California, Berkeley, admissions director Olufemi Femi Ogundele said the admissions process is rational but not predictable. That term rings true because there are many factors college admissions officials consider in deciding whom to offer a seat to, and some of them are subjective.

    This video, recorded some years ago in the admissions committee of Amherst College, shows how these factors inter-relate in making admissions decisions.

    But there are eight decision factors most universities consider.

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    So What Do College Admissions Look Like Now

    The 2020-2021 college admissions cycle looked a little different than it has historically both the Common Application and Coalition added an optional essay question about the pandemics impact, for example, and many U.S. colleges and universities suspended their SAT/ACT testing requirements.

    Some of these changes were temporary, to be sure, as admissions officers and colleges scrambled to keep application processes fair and accessible for students. But some changes are likely to have lasting impact on future college admissions an impact that isnt yet fully clear.;

    However, there are a few compelling ideas out there about what college admissions might look like in the wake of a global pandemic.;

    For one thing, COVID challenged the traditional quantitative factors of college admissions transcripts, standardized test scores, and resumes. Many students last year were unable to take the SAT or ACT due to test center closures, for example, and plenty of schools turned to a Pass/Fail grading system or other alternative. Some students couldnt keep up with remote work or even access the internet, raising already pressing issues of equity and accessibility. Many students also were unable to participate in extracurricular activities, including internship opportunities, research experiences, service activities, summer programs, and clubs.;

    Do College Admissions Officers Look At Applicants Social Media Accounts

    Many parents already keep a close eye on their kids social media activity. There are simply too many safety and privacy concerns to ignore. However, once students get to high school, monitoring social media accounts gets harder. Children are more tech-savvy and far less likely to share their online lives with their families.

    Thats a problem, because once kids get to high school the stakes are much higher. Students turn their attention to college applications, and they dont realize their social media posts can come back to haunt them.

    Certainly, college admissions officers can access social media pages, but do they? Heres what you need to know.

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    Nothing Will Ever Beat The Value Of Hard Workperiod

    Do what you enjoy, find your interests, and pursue them with some depth. You will never be able to guess what particular colleges want or need. However, if you define yourself as someone who is passionate and hardworking, rest assured there are schools out there that will value that and want you to join their community.

    The information on this page will hold true almost no matter where you go and what type of school you seek.

    Do All Colleges Use The Same Criteria When Admitting Students

    Potential or Performance: What do Admissions Look For?

    Colleges dont all consider the same factors when deciding whether or not to admit prospective students. Talk to a college counselor to learn about what your school of choice considers before accepting students. This can help you be prepared for college applications and interviews. Listed below are some examples.

    • Liberal arts colleges, which encourage students to study broadly, may give factors such as essays and demonstrated interest considerable weight.
    • Highly selective colleges attract thousands of outstanding students. These colleges typically look to the “moderately important” factors to make their decisions.
    • At very large universities, some admission decisions may be made solely based on GPA and test scores.

    Colleges consider many factors when admitting students. Remember that different colleges take different factors into consideration during the admissions process. After learning more about these college admission secrets, do some research about the schools you are applying to and find new ways to stand out!

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    What Do Colleges Look For 9 Ways To Stand Out To Admissions Committees

    Colleges are always looking for the top students to fill a limited number of spots each term. You know you have what it takes, but how can you prove it to the admissions committee?

    To increase your chances of acceptance, well tell you all about what colleges look for in candidates with nine hot tips to knock your application out of the park!

    Recommendations From Counselors And Teachers

    At selective colleges, strong school support in the form of recommendations from counselors and faculty members has become more important than ever. These recommendations should be highly specific, describing not just each student’s love of learning, but the ways in which the students have demonstrated that they can

    • Add to the classroom experience.
    • Challenge themselves.
    • Attempt original projects.

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    It May Be Easier To Apply But Its Not Easier To Get In

    Historically speaking, when a college goes test-optional, it sees a rise in applications and becomes even more selective. Case in point: when the University of Chicago went test optional in 2018, the average SAT score rose 15 points, and the schools admission rate dropped from 7.2% to 5.9%.

    This trend certainly held true in the most recent admission cycle. For example:

    Brown Universitys Dean of Admissions Logan Powell put it best, noting that the university could have admitted two or three classes with nearly indistinguishable academic credentialsthe applicant pools grew larger, but no less competitive.

    Knowledge About The University

    What Do College Admissions Officers Look For? in 2020 ...

    While a set of great questions goes a long way in this interview, you also dont want to come into the interview not knowing anything about Stanford. In fact, you should already have a deep understanding of what the school offers.

    Your questions should revolve more around things you cant learn online such as what its like to be a student there, what the interviewers personal experience was like, and more. Before the interview, you should already know what specific offers and resources you will take advantage of if accepted to Stanford.

    Knowing the classes you want to take, the clubs you want to join, and the professors you want to learn from shows interviewers that youre interested in attending Stanford and that its a perfect match for your academic and professional goals.

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    Help Your Students Understand What Really Matters To Colleges

    There’s no magic formula when it comes to college admission decisions. So how do you advise students on admission factors when they vary so widely from one college to the next?

    Students can use College Search to find profiles for colleges of interest. College Search provides information on the college’s first-year students, including the admitted students’ SAT® and ACT score ranges and the percentage of students in the top of their class.

    A college’s statistics should never be taken as rules for admission, though.Students should know that manyfactors influence admission

    • Courses taken
    • Interviews

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