Grades that represent a strong effort and an upward trend. However, slightly lower grades in a rigorous program are preferred to all A’s in less challenging coursework.
Solid scores on standardized tests (SAT/ACT). These should be consistent with high school performance.
A well-written essay that provides insight into the student’s unique personality, values, and goals. The application essay should be thoughtful and highly personal. It should demonstrate careful and well-constructed writing.
Passionate involvement in a few in or out of school activities. Commitment and depth are valued over minimal involvement in a large number of activities.
Demonstrative leadership and initiative in extra-curricular activities. Students who arrive on campus prepared to lead clubs and activities are highly desirable.
Personal characteristics that will contribute to a diverse and interesting student body. Many colleges seek to develop a freshman class that is diverse: geographically, culturally, ethnically, economically, and politically.
Demonstrated enthusiasm to attend, often exhibited by campus visits and an interview, showing an interest toward attending the college if offered admission.
Letters of recommendation from teachers and guidance counselors that give evidence of integrity, special skills, positive character traits, and an interest in learning.
Special talents that will contribute to the college’s student life program. Colleges like to know what you intend to bring to campus, as well as take away from your college experience.
Out of school experience including work, community service, youth organizations, religious groups, etc. Again, passionate involvement is meaningful to the admissions office; casual memberships are not.
Go get ’em, Applicants!