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College Admissions Overview

We understand how stressful applying to college can be, which is why we've compiled a very basic list of the different aspects that colleges will look at to help ease your worries. Please keep in mind that the admissions requirements for each college may vary, so be sure to check the university's website for more information. 

Grades, GPA, and Test Scores

Colleges want to see a holistic view of students' academic performance, so many may place emphasis on grades, test scores, and GPAs. More colleges are beginning to accept a super score (the best score from each section) of the SAT and ACT Exam, and some universities are even test optional. Please see our college admissions resources page for more information on test optional schools and other helpful links.  

Rigor of Curriculum

Colleges will also look at the difficulty of the students' courses during the admissions process. Admissions officers want to see students challenging themselves, especially with courses that students may want to pursue in college. 

College Essay

College essays are another important aspect of students' application. This is where admissions officers are able to see the student's true character and personality shine through. Many colleges accept applications through the Common Application, which includes a variety of essay prompts that students will choose from. This one essay will be sent through the Common Application to all colleges that use this platform. However, some schools may require supplemental essays that are specific to that university, so be sure to check the university's website. For more information on the Common Application, please see our college admissions resources page. 

Letters of Recommendation

Colleges may require recommendation letters from teachers and school guidance counselors. Teacher letters normally come from a junior year teacher that students know well, but the letter could come from another teacher if the student has taken many of their classes, or the teacher is in a field that the student is interested in. Guidance counselors will also write a recommendation letter for every student. Usually, colleges recommend at least one teacher recommendation and one counselor recommendation, but requirements for universities differ, so check the school's website so you can meet their specific requirements.  

Extracurricular Activies and Community Service

Colleges would also like to see what students are interested and involved in outside of the classroom, whether it be school-related extracurriculars, community service, or any other activity in which students are involved. This allows colleges to get a more holistic picture of the student in addition their academics. Colleges also want to see any talents or passions that students have, so be sure to include these on your resume or even supplemental essays.