What Colleges Want
Below are some strategies to help you get into the college of your dreams.
- Choose wisely. Research the schools you are interested in.
- Apply strategically. Apply to dream schools, second-choice schools, and safety schools. Apply to at least 2 schools, but not more than 10.
- Select recommenders who know you. Choose people who can write about you as a student and a person.
- Leadership is better than membership. Quality is better than quantity. Highlight activities where you have displayed leadership and initiative.
- Write an irresistible essay. Emphasize your strengths and write about something for which you are passionate.
- Aim for perfection. Presentation counts. Let others proofread your work.
According to the Independent Educational Consultants Association, these are “The Top Ten Things Colleges Want in Applicants”
- A challenging high school curriculum. (Include several Honors and Advanced Placement classes)
- Grades that represent strong effort and an upward trend. (Slightly lower grades in a rigorous program are preferred to all A’s in less challenging work)
- A well-written essay that provides insight into the student’s unique personality, values, and goals.
- The demonstration of leadership and initiative and passionate involvement in activities. (Once again, quality over quantity!)
- Solid scores on standardized tests (SAT/ACT).
- A well-rounded student, displaying special talents or experiences.
- Letters of recommendation from teachers and guidance counselors that give evidence of integrity, special skills, and positive character traits.
- Demonstrated enthusiasm towards attending college. This is often exhibited in an interview
- Out-of-school experiences, including work and community service, that illustrate responsibility, dedication and development of areas of interest.
- Supplemental recommendations by adults who have had significant direct contact with the student. (Letters from coaches or supervisors are valuable. Recommendations from casual acquaintances
For more information, contact the Counseling Office at (502) 895-9427
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