Who will get admitted this year to college? That’s the question.
It’s a given that colleges are looking for good grades and good standardized test scores. These are still measurements that can be compared across the board. But, there are other measurements colleges look at in their applicant.
- Teacher Recommendations – Colleges want to know you have good relationships with the adults in your learning community. They also use teacher recommendations to confirm what you have offered up about yourself in your application.
- Application Essays- Colleges want to know you can write correctly and clearly. Of course, great prose can persuade, but beyond correct and clear, colleges are really looking at essays to see an applicant as a real person. The rest of an application is about measurement. In your essays you can be yourself and introduce a college to you as a person.
Along with measures, there are some qualities that colleges are interested in.
- A Community Service Background – Volunteering shows responsibility and a caring beyond self. It is also useful in obtaining scholarships.
- Work Experience – Work shows that you can manage time, interact with others, and that you are mature—not just taken care of by your family, but able to stand alone.
- Depth in Experiences and Activities – It‘s not about how much you do but what you do. Colleges want to see you have a passion for an avocation or interest: music, photography, basketball. In this case, they would want to see you have pursued that interest in different ways for a sustained period. They are also interested in whether or not you have a certain quality like leadership or communication. If you are a good communicator, they will look for you to be involved in activities that demonstrate this quality, perhaps, being a class officer, taking part in Girls’ or Boys’ State, being on the principal’s advisory board, etc.
- A Level of Interest in Them – Believe it or not, colleges want to know you know the details about them and are motivated to attend. It’s hard not to like someone who likes you. Also, at the end of the day, colleges look better if a higher percentage of the people that have accepted actually attend their campus. Sometimes a dedicated persistence that insures you will attend can put you ahead of the applicants with great grades.
Other factors have to be considered as making a difference in whether or not you get accepted. These are a bit quirky but compliment the need for colleges to be diverse or to fill certain niches they have which are presently vacant. Diversity includes divergence of ethnic background, geographical divergence, and socio-economic divergence. Niches that college might want to fill are vacancies on the swim team, musicians for the college’s orchestra, or writers for their campus newspapers that has been losing its staff.
Sometimes it’s nice to know, in a nut shell, what is expected in this competitive venture of getting accepted to a college of your choice.