The college admissions process requires a long-term approach to develop the skills and strategies needed based on your goals. Colleges have different evaluation criteria especially now that the pandemic has changed the admissions process tremendously. Most top schools have chosen to go test-optional thus, putting more weight on other factors other than the results of diagnostic tests. Regardless of the admissions process, what remains constant is that you should present a well-rounded and comprehensive picture of your skills, experiences, and personality traits to prove that you will be a good fit for the university you are applying to.
Top schools consider the following factors:
- Academic requirements – A high GPA will put you at an advantage. Grades and performance in the core subjects will also matter a lot as this will reveal competencies and academic discipline. Taking more challenging classes such as AP courses and performing well in them will be an advantage.
- Extracurricular Activities – Involvement in sports and socially relevant organizations shows how well you can balance academic life with extracurricular activities. Choice of activities will highlight interests and goals as well as leadership skills and the ability to work with a team.
- Essays and/or personal statements – Impressive numbers such as grades and test scores only show a student’s aptitude. Essays and personal statements bring life to these numbers and also showcase your writing ability. Admission officers will be looking at your personality and determining if you can succeed within the school’s environment.
- Interview – Not all schools require an admissions interview, but if they will allow, it would be to your advantage if you can have it scheduled. Just like the student essay, the interview will let admissions officers take a glimpse into your personality to see if you will be a great fit for the school.
Recommendation from school counselors and teachers – A strong letter of recommendation describing your general abilities, leadership skills, learning aptitude, and overall behavior will be the cherry on top of an impressive college application. These recommendations have to paint a very clear picture of how dynamic you are.
Grades and GPAs are the most important elements of college admissions as these reflect a student’s overall academic performance and readiness to handle higher-level coursework. Most schools have adopted the test-optional policy but some schools still accept standardized test scores if an applicant chooses to submit them. This may be helpful for some, especially those who do not have stellar academic records and GPAs.
During college consulting, an admissions consultant helps an applicant by strategically designing activities that will give the utmost advantage in the college application.
Educational consultants help identify an applicant’s strengths, interests, and considerations to narrow down the list of colleges and universities to apply to. Next, the application requirements are worked on step-by-step, brainstorming for essay topics, choosing teachers who will write letters of recommendation, and designing extracurricular activities. If required in the admissions process, test preparation and interview preparation are also done.
If a student applies and gets accepted to several schools, educational consultants help in making the final choice by going back and reviewing the goals and considerations that were put in place at the start of the consulting process.
It is never too early to start preparing for college. Families who start preparing as early as middle school achieve more success because the student is given more than enough time to cover all the bases and receive the necessary intervention like tutoring and academic coaching to improve grades, plan and execute extracurricular activities, and receive guidance and preparation for standardized tests, interviews, and essay writing.
School counselors do not have the time to help every student in creating a personalized admissions strategy because of the large number of students and their other responsibilities in school. Hiring an independent college counselor is the best option to easily steer your way into the whole admissions process. You need a counselor who is knowledgeable and updated with admissions processes for different schools, gives timely responses to your queries and provides a personalized admissions strategy.