WHAT COLLEGES LOOK FOR IN PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS
Academic Record: Admission representatives look at the breadth (how many), diversity, and difficulty of the courses on your transcript.
Grades: You should show consistency in your ability to work to your potential. If your grades are not initially good, colleges look to see that significant improvement has been made. Some colleges have minimum grade point averages that they are willing to accept. GPA is the best indicator in a lot of colleges minds on how a student will perform at the next level.
Class Rank: Colleges may consider the academic standing of a student in relation to the other members of his or her class. Are you in the top 25 percent of your class? Top half?
Standardized test scores: College look at test scores in terms of ranges. If your scores aren’t high but you did well academically in high school, you shouldn’t be discouraged. There is not set formula for admission. Even at the most competitive schools, some students’ test scores are lower than you would think.
Extracurricular activities: Colleges look for depth of involvement (variety and how long you participated), initiative (leadership), and creativity demonstrated in activities, service, or work.
Recommendations: Most colleges require a recommendation from your high school guidance counselor. Some ask for references from teachers or other adults. If your counselor or teacher don’t know you well, you should put together a student resume, or brag sheet, that outlines what you have done during your four years of high school.
College Interview: Required by most colleges with highly selective procedures.