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. Be sure they have your preferred major.
- Apply strategically. Apply to reach schools, likely schools, and safety schools. We suggest applying to 3-5 institutions.
- Request recommendations (if required) early. Talk to your College Counselor for assistance.
- Leadership is better than membership. Quality is better than quantity. Highlight activities where you have displayed leadership and initiative.
- Write an irresistible essay. Ensure that your essay topic is something that cannot be found anywhere else on your application.
- Aim for perfection. Presentation counts. Let others proofread your work.
What do colleges actually look at?
- Your high school curriculum and course rigor.
- Your GPA in core classes (e.g. Math, Science, English).
- Your ACT scores (unless the institution is test-optional).
- Your GPA in non-core classes.
- 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!)
- How you and your experience fits in the incoming class of students.
- Out-of-school experiences, including work and community service, that illustrate responsibility, dedication and development of areas of interest.
- Letters of recommendation. Keep in mind that if a recommendation is not required, it is not scored as part of the admissions process.
- Demonstrated enthusiasm towards attending college. This is often exhibited in an interview or a campus visit.