What Colleges and Universities Look for in Students
Admissions can often be vague with what they’re truly looking for with applicants. With many of these challenging, selective schools, nobody outside of admissions actually knows what separates one solid candidate’s acceptance from another’s rejection. With that being said, you can still hedge the bet in your favor. It’s well known that colleges (and universities) care about community service. They want young adults who care about others, and donate at least some of their time to their community.
Colleges hope that you will continue to do so while attending their institution, which also helps them look better on the national stage.
Sports and extracurricular activities are a great way to show that you are keeping a full schedule, while hobbies show that you have a healthy interest in areas of life outside of what you’re being told to do in high school. It really doesn’t matter if you’re on the football or softball team, chess club or debate team, as long as you apply yourself to something.
SAT & ACT are very well-known factors in which schools you should be applying to. There are ways to prepare for these, and unless you enjoy sitting and being tested for six hours, the preparation isn’t much more fun. But remember, these exams are arguably the most important six hours in your high school career, so make the best of them. A very strong SAT will often makeup for a less than fortunate GPA. Bringing us to GPA...
Colleges care about you as a student first and foremost. While grades may not be the entire application, without a good GPA, none of the other stuff matters. Additionally, if you can, take honors and advanced placement courses. Showing colleges that you are able to handle higher education level material makes you a low risk applicant. BUT remember, it’s always better to get an A in a regular course than a C in an AP course.