3 Important Areas for Your Student to Focus on for College Admission
What are colleges looking for in students these days?
It depends on the college. Different college applications have different fields to complete to learn more about your child’s profile. As an example, here in California, the Cal State Application currently does not consider a student’s extracurricular activities, volunteer work, or require essays, while the Universities of California consider all these factors in a student profile.
So, what areas should students focus on for college admission throughout high school?
- Grades/GPA – Grades are the most important. They tell the college how hard a student works and what academic levels they’ll be entering college with. Work hard to help your student maximize their GPA, strategize to take the best fit courses that are challenging for them yet not too difficult. Colleges cannot tell the differences in difficulty between the AP Bio courses taught from high school to high school.
- Standardized Test Scores – The SAT or ACT are required at most colleges. These tests measure a student’s deductive reasoning skills next to all the other juniors and seniors out there. Please be sure to study for these tests and strategize the best time for the student to take the tests and have enough time to retake their tests, if necessary. Don’t forget, there’s also Advanced Placement tests and SAT Subject Tests that can be required or recommended by colleges, so planning and strategizing when to take these tests are very important.
- Student Profile – With record numbers in terms of college applications being submitted to colleges, it means there are plenty of students who are eligible to attend based on their grades and tests scores. However, with limited number of seats in the freshman class, and in certain departments and majors, specifically, colleges are often looking a little deeper into these eligible students to see how they would fit into their next freshman class.
Building a well-rounded and unique student profile will help the admissions officers see why they should choose one student over another. The involvement in certain activities, programs, and community work outside of their academics and tests will separate them from the other students, helping them to potentially receive an “acceptance” over another student. Building a student profile takes time and some strategizing as well. Colleges are asking about a student’s involvement in extracurricular activities, volunteer/community service work, and education prep programs from freshman year and on.
Tip: Get started as soon as possible because applications go in at the beginning of senior year, not the end!