What does a college look for in an applicant?
A college is not looking for one particular factor in an applicant. Selection of a freshman class is a complex task which depends upon many factors. Admissions counselors seek applicants who are capable of enriching the college at the same time as they are capable of gaining enrichment from the college. Each applicant must put together a package of his or her many strong points so that the application is seen in its most positive form. The criteria, which must be included in each applicant’s package, in a neat and clear manner is listed below.
- Grade Point Average-Not only the grades themselves, but also what courses were taken to receive those grades
- Type of Curriculum
- What was the quality of the course work?
- Were the courses Regents, honors?
- Did the student take AP courses?
- Quality of the senior year program
- Has the student continued to maintain a difficult schedule of course work?
- ** It should be noted that while various schools use different priorities in choosing their freshman class, the vast majority give priority to the academic record, particularly the grades earned in the major subjects: English, Social Studies, Mathematics, Science and Second Language.
STANDARDIZED TEST SCORES
- How did the student score on SAT’s and/or ACT’s?
- Has the student taken SAT II tests to show achievement in specific areas of the curriculum?
SENIOR YEAR GRADES
- The grades received in the senior year give the applicant the opportunity to show the colleges what he/she is capable of achieving, and that there is motivation for success. While the senior year can not change weak credentials in grades 9, 10 and 11, it can indicate that a student has matured and should be given consideration. For those seniors who already have good credentials, a good first semester is important.
- Has the student given a great deal of time and energy to an athletic endeavor?
- Has the student shown leadership qualities through work on a newspaper, in a volunteer organization?
- Does this student spend several hours a day working outside of school?
- Have the teachers and/or counselor given this student particularly strong recommendations?
SPECIAL INFORMATIONThis information should be conveyed to the college admissions office:
- Do you have a special talent which makes you unique (e.g., proficiency in a second language, ability in one of the performing arts, a great deal of travel experience)?
- Have you done some extraordinary independent study (research in a scientific field, computer work)?
- Have you had an unusual summer activity?
ESSAY*** NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF AN ESSAY ***
The essay is of extreme importance and can be the decisive factor in many college applications. Essays should not be done in a hurried fashion. The essay should be a “masterpiece” which displays your best qualities of character as well as your writing ability. Whatever your talent is, the essay should reflect who you are, how you feel about life. This is your personal statement which gives a verbal picture of you for the admissions committee. Your written picture will describe your personality, ability, motivation and how much you care about getting accepted to college. Your writing is an example of your emotional and intellectual capabilities and of how much time and effort you put into this portion of your application. Answer the exact question that has been asked while making sure that you, the individual, come through in the answer.
- How did the student appear at the interview?
- Was his/her dress appropriate?
- Did he/she conduct himself/herself in a mature manner?
- Has the student done his/her homework insofar as the college was concerned?
- Did the student know enough about the college to know it was a place he/she would like to attend?
- Is the student able to answer questions about himself/herself and why he/she would like to study at this college?
- Can the student answer why this is the “right” college for him/her?
- Was the student prepared for the interview?
- Always make sure to send a letter of thank you after an interview. A sample letter is included in this handbook.