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What do colleges look for when deciding who to admit?

I care a lot about school, and my future. #july2020 #july

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Kelly’s Answer

Hi Sierra,

Your grades and commitment to school is a key factor for colleges. Admissions teams will look for individuals who take challenging high school courses, that there is improvement in grades over time, and overall GPA. However, this is not everything that their decision is based on.

More importantly, I believe, will be how you market yourself a whole individual, not just the numbers you produce. Specifically, college admissions team will look for someone that is involved in extracurricular at school, volunteers in the community, or has additional commitments or circumstances that may effect their grades in school.

You will have the opportunity to describe your whole self through resumes and college essays. You will also have the opportunity to ask for others to support your college journey through letters of recommendations. This is where teachers, coaches, mentors, managers, etc. have the opportunity to recommend you to a college based on their relationship with you and how they view you as a potential college student.

Best of luck in your college access journey! Stay positive.

Kelly recommends the following next steps:

Get involved in school extracurriculars or volunteer in your community
Start thinking of teachers or mentors that you have a good relationship with that could write a letter of recommendation for you
Make a list of what makes you different from classmates, why college is important to you, what obstacles you may have faced during high school/life (this will help outline our college essay)
Check in with your high school college counselor on what other steps you can be taking to be the best candidate possible

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Britni’s Answer

Hi Sierra, as a college graduate, I have a few tips on what I think that colleges look for in students during their decision process. Grades and standardized test scores are extremely important if you are interested in applying to competitive schools. Also, volunteering and any extracurricular activities are important too, since many students now are applying with competitive grades along with extracurricular activities that they participate in. I would try to make yourself stand out in any way that you can and do something that you're passionate about. Finding a passion for something early on may be difficult, but if you can show to admissions that you are determined and have a strong passion (in addition to great test scores and grades), it might give you a step up compared to other applicants! Hope this helps you and best of luck.