There are a lot of factors to consider before submitting your college application. While your academic performance and high school G.P.A. are critical, they are not the only factors determining your admissions chances. There is also the matter of your commitment to a particular sport, religious organization, or job over the last four years. Listed below are some of the top things you need to consider. Hopefully, these tips will help you get started.
High school G.P.A.
You might have heard that high school G.P.A. is one of the most important things for a college admissions officer to look at. It’s true. High school G.P.A.s are essential for college admissions, but they also indicate your overall performance in high school. A high G.P.A. opens up many more opportunities in college and can also help you get scholarships to help pay for college.
To determine your high school G.P.A., you must first understand how it is calculated. Many high schools use weighted grading systems that award extra points to students who take accelerated and honors courses. Depending on the weighting system you use, you can find your total G.P.A. by adding up your grades and dividing them by the number of classes you took. For example, a student can expect a G.P.A. of 5.3 on a weighted scale, but that may be impossible at many schools. Therefore, if you want a G.P.A. of 5.3, you should take all your A.P. classes and get an A+ in all your classes.
The strength of your academic performance is a crucial factor in college admissions decisions. While no admissions office expects you to get perfect grades, your consistent high rates can show the selection committee that you have challenged yourself. In addition, while some colleges will look at your class rank, others will combine your best scores. Therefore, it’s best to take various challenging classes to show the admissions committee that you’re dedicated to academic challenges.
Getting involved in extracurricular activities can also impress college admissions committees. During your high school years, you should join two or three clubs and aspire to be a leader of one of them. Colleges like to see the breadth and not just a superficial involvement, so getting involved with more than one activity outside of school is essential. In addition, club and extracurricular activities are great ways to demonstrate who you are as a person, and they can also highlight skills that are not reflected in your grades.
Commitment to a sport, hobby, religious organization, or job over four years of high school
While you’ll want to include all your extracurricular activities on your college application, you should also keep in mind that a college doesn’t look for specific hours. Instead, they’ll look for your reasons for participating in each activity and the particular skills you’ve gained from each one. Use action-oriented verbs and economy of adverbs to describe your commitment. Most colleges prefer to see that you’ve participated in at least one worthwhile activity during high school.
Colleges are particularly interested in your commitment to these extracurriculars when assessing your activities. While many activities are general, others require more responsibility. For example, “Junior R.O.T.C.” may refer to a federal program sponsored by the U.S. Armed Forces. Therefore, colleges are looking for specialized students who have a passion outside the classroom.
The importance of personality is not a recent development in the admissions process. More institutions are using character traits to determine admission decisions. The reasons for this renewed focus on character attributes are largely debated. In one study, 70 percent of admissions officers said they emphasized character traits in making admission decisions. The good news is that there are several ways to show personality.
Whether a high-school senior or a nontraditional student, college admissions officers look for proof that you have an inquiring mind. Be sure to discuss the outside-of-class reading or research a theory if applicable. These actions will convey a positive attitude toward learning and demonstrate an ability to think independently. Ninety-one percent of university admissions officers also look for evidence that you are interested in learning about different cultures.
The first step in college admissions is creating a well-written college essay. The essay should reflect the true nature of the applicant and demonstrate what makes them unique. While it’s lovely to include a personal challenge, staying positive and leaving out any negative aspects is best. Instead, focus on demonstrating how you’ll be an excellent fit for the college’s culture and values.
The college application process can be exhausting. There are multiple steps to follow, including college essays, letters of recommendation from teachers, and deadlines for interviews and campus visits. To help ease the burden:
- Get support from others.
- Talk with friends and family members who attended the schools you’re considering.
- Practice interviews and essay-revision sessions with trusted adults.
A well-written college essay can help you stand out among the many applicants.