12 Important Things Colleges Look for in a High-School Student

student at colleges look for

Are you college bound? If you are in high school and have prospects of attending college, this article is for you. The ideal way to plan and prepare for college is knowing what colleges look for and the factors that influence their decisions.

You then have to combine this information with your strengths and likes, as you prepare. You first have to understand that colleges build a class. They don’t merely try to admit a certain number of students.

When you get that, so can you prepare with your best foot forward. Below are some of the characteristics that colleges look for in applicants that you should know:


  1. Strong Grades

Having strong grades and especially ones that are on an upward trend, shows effort.

In comparing different programs, the admissions officer prefer grades that are slightly lower and in a rigorous program, compared to getting all A’s but in coursework that’s less challenging.


  1. Choice of Courses

Strive to enroll in AP (Advanced Placement) courses or Honors. That is, in areas where you have the aptitude, skills, and strength. It comes with the added challenge of scoring the best grades in courses that are considered academically challenging.

Many colleges place more weight in these “tough” courses than others. Such that, a B in an advanced class could rate higher than an A in a mainstream class.


  1. Personality

Your essay is a vital part of the college application. And so, you should place the same importance in choosing an essay writing service. An admission officer can tell your personality just from what and how you write the essay.

The written parts of the application show your softer qualities. It helps to distinguish between candidates who can become good classmates, and who are also community builders, from the entitled, mean, selfish, students.

READ: 7 Tricks to Manage Exam Stress

  1. Scores on Standardized Tests

How you perform in schoolwork and the standardized tests, should be consistent. Your scores should match or exceed the ratings of their current students. These scores measure your college potential.

Do your research by looking at the class that was recently admitted, by going through their profile. If the college doesn’t consider ones scores on the standardized tests, then, they usually ask for supplementary materials, e.g., a portfolio.


  1. Involvement in Activities

In these, you have to showcase the depth of engagement. It isn’t just about the breadth. What are the other activities, you have engaged in, besides your classwork? You have to demonstrate initiative in these activities.

When making selections from the applicant pool, universities seek leaders. Leadership shows character and a level of maturity.


  1. Insightful Essay

You may not have to write an essay as part of the college application. But if you need to, then, do it right. Some universities use it as a tool to learn about you. Keep an eye out on what the essay may say about your personality and character.

If you are a marginal applicant, a fantastic essay can push you to the group of accepted students. Ensure that it demonstrates writing that’s well-constructed.

READ ALSO: Top 15 Reasons why Students Fail During Examination

  1. Community Service

You should demonstrate passionate involvement in experiences out-of-school. It could be in youth organizations, work, or religious groups. The activities should show a global view and concern for other people.

It should depict you as a “contributor.” And as in other extra-curricular activities, more value is put on depth and commitment. Using your free time, meaningfully, shows maturity.


  1. Positive Recommendation

Getting recommendations from adults who have been in direct contact with you, can boost your application. You should consider requesting recommendations from teachers, supervisors, coaches, who you’ve had long-term relationships.

Those from casual acquaintances, even if they are well known, may not prove valuable.


  1. Special Awards or Attributes

Colleges look for  candidates who will contribute to their student’s body, actively. So, don’t forget to share anything that makes you stand out. That includes any Honors, Awards, unique experiences and even talent.


  1. Intellectual Curiosity

You can demonstrate this through the pursuits you indulge in, during your leisure hours. It could be through reading, and much more.


  1. Enthusiasm to Attend the School

Many other applicants are competing for the limited spaces. You can show your interest to attend the college, through campus visits. Also, the same applies when you are asked to come for an interview.


  1. Diversity

When developing a freshman class, colleges look for applicants whose characteristics can contribute to their exciting and diverse body of students. That addresses geographic, political, cultural, ethnic and economic diversity.

READ ALSO: 5.0 Reasons a First Class Honour Doesn’t Guarantee You Success in Future


As you envision your life in college, ensure that you do your best to have what it takes to get there. Good Luck!



About Author

Tony Clarson works as a content marketer, she specializes on essay writing service Ireland .  She believes that her articles help students and college applicants to be more successful and productive in their study process. She likes to swim, run and read a lot in her leisure time. Tony’s life motto is “Go for it. No matter how it ends, it was an experience”.

A student, Part-time Blogger, freelance writer and an OAP. Want to know more about me? click my social media links.

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