Becoming Their Top Choice

Vianie Merino, Writer

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Applying for college can be a tedious and stressful process that, unfortunately, does not guarantee acceptance. With a broad idea of what is expected or favored, it’s difficult to piece together a concise application that pleases all schools.

According to the College Board, “Character Counts: What Are Colleges Looking For,” there are various academic and personal aspects of your high school years that will both attract and impress college application reviewers.

College Board believes “leadership and a sense of social responsibility,” are two of the most important qualities evaluated by colleges. This could mean participating in, or leading, various clubs, services, sports, or activities. By doing so, colleges will perceive your participation as a sign of initiative, commitment, influence, and willingness to take risks.

As far as academics go, it’s important to display the statistics that truly capture your abilities in high school. While every college is different and each requires a unique set of expectations, your grades and test scores will have a great impression on college decisions. Afterall, “admission tests let colleges find you,” College Board admits.

Although high school transcripts and testing scores are heavily evaluated, College Board also suggests featuring aspects of your character. Since “personal qualities are not easy to measure,” your applications should include character in “extracurricular activities, summer jobs and activities, the college essay, and letters of recommendation,” the article states.

Colleges essentially want to know who you are as a person, student, and individual in the community. Including activities you have participated in or committed to outside of school, therefore, provide colleges with more insight as to how you will contribute to their school if chosen.

Earl Johnson (Associate Vice President and Dean of Admission, University of Tulsa) trumps the common belief that colleges only want a select type of students. He states, “we are looking for a diverse campus community, a diverse subset of students, to make up that whole listed community.” Thus, you should not be discouraged if your grades, test scores, activities, or overall application does not match another of an accepted student.

Essentially, to make your application standout, display all the qualities-both academic and personal-that reflect the truth of your unique character.