Nothings says Fall like pumpkin-spiced lattes and college admissions. Of course, this fall is a bit different. It seems like we have kids going to school virtually, in person or a hybrid version of both. Instead of fall open houses, colleges are having webinars and zoom admission events. We are here to help you figure the admissions process. Our goal this month is to break down some of the components in the admission process to better help your family.
Strong GPA and Class Ranking
Overall GPA is important, but some schools will also take note of how your child did in his/her individual classes. Some high schools offer class ranking. If this is the case for your child’s high school, the college will want to take a look at this so see how s/he ranked among his/her peers.
Advanced Placement (AP) and/or Honors Classes
Taking difficult classes such as Advanced Placement or Honors classes can give a very good impression to admissions officers. However, it is actually doing well in these classes that shows the college that your child is serious about his/her academics.
Engaging in Extracurricular Activities
Colleges are looking for students who have passion, interest and drive. Participating in extracurricular activities demonstrates that the students have interests that extend outside the classroom. Developing talents and skills outside of the regular school day is something that helps to develop a well-rounded student. Remember, though, that the better schools want to see a real level of commitment and achievement in these activities – not just something that has been done to “fill in a box.”
Taking time outside of high school life to volunteer one’s time is a special thing. If your child has done projects outside of school for any charities or did any sort of volunteer work at all, these things should be noted on the application. These are traits to demonstrate a strong character and these are the types of student’s college admissions officers would like to admit into college. It should be something that resonates with your child, so that it can be presented with honest enthusiasm.
Gathering Work Experience
Does your child have a part-time job during high school? Does s/he work during the summers? These qualities show independence, in some cases, as well as leadership and commitment. List any employment work that is applicable for your child
Standardized Testing (SAT/ACT)
There was a time that schools weighed the SAT and ACT quite heavily, and many still do, but not every school gives them the same weight these days. Regardless, however, it is advisable for your child to work hard and prepare to do as well as possible on these tests. They are still a valuable benchmark for colleges to use, and admissions officers can review these tests and compare with other test results (such as AP tests).
Strong Recommendation Letters
While a good recommendation letter can go a long way, a meaningful recommendation letter can go even further. For this reason, your child should try to secure recommendation letters from people s/he knows quite well
Demonstrate Passion And Drive
Colleges are most interested in seeing drive, interest, and passion for the activities in which an applicant is engaged. They certainly do not prefer seeing a student listing a page full of different activities with no demonstrated meaning, and without time invested to grow in those disciplines.
The very best colleges and universities often go far beyond SAT scores and essays (which should be a given at the top levels). They want to determine whether your child is the type of person who learns and grows, and truly enjoys the process of learning and growing. They want to see how your child stretches him/herself
We recommend grabbing that pumpkin spiced latte and sitting down to talk with your son/daughter about college admissions. We’ve got another post devoted to admissions.