Ariel, it's a subjective process. So, they look at some baseline comparative data such as GPA and SAT, but then it gets gray. They're trying to find the best fits for their school, compared to the pool of applicants they receive. Think of it like a pile of marbles on a table and they sift them into groups based on what they see on the application and what the other marbles on the table have. You should also be going through the same exercise. Sizing up schools based on how good a fit they are to you. So, look at their required GPA and SATs, then look at the programs they offer, size, cost, culture/community. start winnowing down your list and then, start talking to people who may have gone there, talk to your guidance counselor about it, talk to the admissions rep for your area and start to get a sense of what their student population looks like. From there, you can start to get a sense of whether you have anything in common. Also, assess your history - classes, activities, hobbies, etc. Is there a thread? A commonality or a narrative you can tell the college about who you are and why their school is the right environment for you, based on who you are. That's ultimately what the admissions folks and you should be trying to determine.