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What do colleges look for on an application?

How can I make myself stand out to colleges? Are there any specific activities they like to see on an application?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Michel’s Answer

A lot of colleges are going to want to see why you performed the activities that you performed. Did you volunteer just because it was advised or did you volunteer because you really wanted to help the community. Colleges are looking for quality over quantity. Find something that you are really passionate about and try to help make a change. I ended up volunteering with kids at the Boys and Girls club and I tutored kids when I had free time. I grew up not having access to tutors and I had to teach myself a lot of the material from school, and I felt like it was important to give back and ensure some other kids didn’t have to experience that. Find your passion and really go for it, and it will impress the schools you are looking at.
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Bhavna’s Answer

Hello Elena,
Colleges look for a student's academic record, standardized test scores, an essay, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and work experience.

To make yourself stand out to colleges, it is important to go above and beyond with your academics, participate in meaningful activities outside the classroom, and make sure that the essay you write is unique, thoughtful, and well written.

Specific activities that may be attractive to colleges include long-term volunteer and/or internships, club participation, school leadership positions, awards and honors, and jobs. Demonstrating an ability to take the initiative and manage commitments can be beneficial. Working on creative passion projects such as writing a blog, designing a website, or even publishing a book can also make you stand out in the eyes of an admissions officer.
I hope this helps. Good luck.
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Bhavna! Elena
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david’s Answer

Hi, Elena,
I was preparing some notes to share, but I just read Chirayu’s answer, and he did a superb job of covering everything and more that I was considering. What it comes down to is showing initiative and diversity. No matter how good your grades might be, if all you do is study and pass tests and do what teachers tell you to do, you will not stand out. The more life experiences you can share that happened because you decided to do them will all help. All the best to you in this.
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Chowdhury Munif’s Answer

Extracurricular activities, Good essay, previous grades, admission test scores such as SAT, letters of recommendation from previous teachers. These are some key factors in college application.
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Job’s Answer

Good grades, good sat score, hobbies and volunteering. You also need to be a good writer
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Bella’s Answer

Hi there,

Colleges want to first make sure that you qualify when it comes to their specific application requirements. These are things like GPA, ACT/SAT test scores, letters of recommendation, and personal statement. You'll want to exceed in these required areas. Try to end school with a great GPA. Study hard for terrific test scores. Ask your references for high quality letters of recommendation. And make sure your personal statement is proof-read, error-free, and it shines with your personality, values and experience.

After you meet the application requirements, some additional areas that can make you stand out are: (1) extracurricular activities like academic clubs and sports (2) volunteer work in your community (3) learned skills and professional certifications (4) internship opportunities (5) paid work experience. All of this will add substance to your application. It can show colleges who you are, what you've learned, what you're interested in, what your values are, and what ways you enjoy helping your community.

Hope this helps. Blessings to you and all you accomplish!
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the help. Elena
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Brianna’s Answer

An application is typically reviewed with the following in mind: academic readiness, extracurricular interests, and whether the applicant "fits" within the university culture and values. Its a good idea to narrow down your college list to 1-5 schools so you can research what their typical applicants are like. You can find information about the acceptance rate, average GPA, average SAT/ACT scores, extracurricular activities, and declared major for the freshman class for many universities.

That information can help you figure out what your individual goals should be. For example, some universities look for stellar GPAs. Some look for high standardized test scores (and some font even require standardized tests at all!). Some look for students with strong, concrete interest in a certain career path, and some look for students who are interested in exploring their academic options. Some really love sports and team spirit. Some don't even have sports teams. For that reason, there's no magic answer to this question. Different universities look for different qualities and prioritize different skills.

A general rule is that you should keep your GPA up (at least 3.0) in order to be in the running for the majority of colleges. As for extracurriculars, the most important aspect is to do something that you are truly passionate about, with that passion reflecting in your application. Make sure your personal essay is unique to you, well written and typo-free, and accurately gets across your values, goals, and personality to the admissions team.

Brianna recommends the following next steps:

Make a list of 1-5 target universities
Talk to current or past students of those schools about their experiences
Start at least one extracurricular or job that interests you
Thank you comment icon Thank you for giving me advice. Elena
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Chirayu’s Answer

Colleges look for a variety of things on an application, and what they value most may vary from one institution to another. However, some common factors that are generally considered by colleges include - colleges are primarily interested in a student's academic performance and potential. They look at GPA, standardized test scores (such as the SAT or ACT), and the rigor of the student's high school curriculum. Personal essays provide colleges with a glimpse into the student's personality, interests, and writing ability. Colleges like to see that a student is well-rounded and has pursued interests outside of the classroom. This could include clubs, sports, volunteer work, etc. Letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors, or other adults who know the student well can provide valuable insight into the student's character, abilities, and potential for success in college. To make yourself stand out to colleges, you can consider the following tips - Engage in activities that you are truly interested in and that you are passionate about. This will make your application stand out and show colleges your commitment and dedication. Take advanced courses in your area of interest, and try to maintain a high GPA. Participate in volunteer work, community service, or leadership activities that demonstrate your character and values. Participate in summer programs, internships, or study abroad programs that allow you to gain new skills and experiences. Colleges are looking for well-rounded students who have demonstrated academic success, a passion for learning, and a commitment to their communities. By showcasing these qualities in your application, you can make yourself stand out and increase your chances of being admitted to the colleges of your choice.



Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Elena
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Aisha’s Answer

There are a variety of factors that go into college admissions decisions. Colleges today are looking for students whose strengths and experiences will be an asset to their school. Good grades, a challenging high school curriculum, standardized test scores, extracurriculars, and a strong essay are a few key factors admissions officers assess.
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Liediana’s Answer

Depending on the course you are applying, colleges look for different qualities. For instance, if you are looking to pursue computer science in college, having participated in IT clubs, cyber competitions or even mathematical olympiads help.
It is crucial for you to understand the field you are going for and strive to obtain as much experience and credentials in that field for you to stand out.
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