What Are College Admissions Boards Really Looking At?

In this YouTube video, The Princeton Review examines what colleges focus on during the admissions process for new students. Reviewers seek to know if a candidate challenged themselves during high school, tried different things, and applied themselves.

There are six top categories reviewers look to on college applications to gain perspective on character type, strength, and willingness to learn new things.

  • The high school transcript and grade point average. The reviewer looks for extra classes, AP classes, or more challenging classes than just the status quo.
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  • Scores on standardized tests. Even though the SAT and ACT exams are deeply flawed testing tools, according to some, they are still important gatekeepers.
  • The college essay. The essay is a unique way to describe something interesting and integral about the candidate.
  • Having more than one recommendation letter. These should be from people who can discuss character strengths both inside the classroom and outside the classroom.
  • Demonstrated interests. Touchpoints that count were when the new student talked with a counselor, met with someone in person, or made inquiries about the school.
  • Extracurricular activities. These show personality, willingness to try new things, and perseverance.

The college admissions process is quantitative, meaning each of the above aspects plays a role in the admissions decision. Higher education admissions software assists in the decision-making process.

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