Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Top 10 Things Colleges Look for In Students

The Independent Educational Consultants Association, IECA, (of which I am a member) recently released the results of its survey aimed at identifying the key accomplishments and characteristics that colleges look for when deciding which students to admit and which to pass over. I was pleased to find the list in keeping with the advice I give my clients: Work hard (but don't fall prey to the all AP courses insanity), pursue a few activities passionately, be curious about life, form connections with teachers who can speak to your strengths and challenges in recommendations, write an honest, intriguing, kick-ass essay, and don't be afraid to let colleges know how much you'd like to be part of their community.

The list, reproduced below, should be taped to the refrigerator and inside the locker of every young person who sees college in his or her future. Follow its advice, and the right college experience will be well within your reach.

1. A rigorous high school curriculum that challenges the student and may include AP or IB classes.
2. Grades that represent strong effort and an upward trend. However, slightly lower grades in a rigorous program are preferred to all As in less challenging coursework.
3. Solid scores on standardized tests (SAT, ACT). These should be consistent with high school performance.
4. Passionate involvement in a few activities, demonstrating leadership and initiative. Depth, not breadth, of experience is most important.
5. Letters of recommendation from teachers and guidance counselor that give evidence of integrity, special skills, positive character traits, and an interest in learning.
6. A well-written essay that provides insight into the student’s unique personality, values, and goals. The application essay should be thoughtful and highly personal. It should demonstrate careful and well-constructed writing.
7. Special talents or experiences that will contribute to an interesting and well-rounded student body.
8. Demonstrated leadership in activities. Colleges want people who will arrive prepared and willing to take leadership of student activities and events.
9. Demonstrated intellectual curiosity through reading, school, leisure pursuits, and more.
10. Demonstrated enthusiasm to attend, often exhibited by campus visits and an interview, showing an interest toward attending the college.

Independent Educational Consultants Association
3251 Old Lee Highway, Suite 510
Fairfax, Virginia 22030
703-591-4850 n www.IECAonline.com n info@IECAonline.com
© 2010 IECA


Eric - College Preparation said...

Good list here. Every year it gets harder, but the things you listed above are cornerstones of what colleges look for in prospective students!

Jony Gibson said...

You gave nice post to us. Thanks for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic.
Colleges applications

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