What colleges want on your application

How to Make the Most of a College Application

Getting the most out of the application to that college of choice can seem daunting if you do not know what the admissions office is looking for. Shedding some light on the process, it becomes a simple matter of what things to highlight and what to omit in an application.

First, to debunk a myth, a legacy student is far from guaranteed admission. Having alumni in the family will not hurt an applicant’s chances, but the prospective student should have more to show than a guardian’s good word. On the other side, it should be noted that schools are looking to be seen as accessible. If an applicant is a first-generation or low-income applicant, it can give a needed edge.

Another factor an admissions officer is looking for is the ability to pay. If an applicant can, in whatever way, cover all or some of their school expenses, this is seen as a definite positive. Similarly, if an applicant is positive on their first choice of school, it displays commitment to the admissions officers to apply early.

In the sphere of the applicant’s education and character, SAT/ACT scores, grades, and enrollment in advanced placement classes will look excellent in the academic sphere and should never be discounted. An oft overlooked aspect of a student’s education, however, is in the extracurricular sphere. Creativity, critical-thinking, risk-taking, and leadership are huge bonuses to an applicant’s chances. Sustained activity or volunteer work that demonstrates any of these characteristics displays outlying character traits that many schools are specifically combing applications for and should always be included.

So long as these highlights are used while you or your hopeful student put together that college application, you will have the best chances possible.

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