Every student in high school carries the overwhelming burden of future college applications. Fortunately, colleges analyze a variety of factors when deciding who they admit. These key factors are taken into consideration during admission, which gives students flexibility when applying to colleges.
The primary reference for colleges is your high school transcript since it is the easiest item to compare to other students. Your highschool transcript includes your schedule, GPA, and standardized tests (SAT, ACT, AP/IB Exams…). Admission officers desire to see whether or not you challenged yourself. Meaning, if you took advantage of the resources offered at your high school. This can mean joining programs, taking more challenging classes, or altering your schedule in a way that accommodates your strengths and weaknesses. However, the main objective is to find out if you challenged yourself and took the initiative to improve as a student intentionally.
Also, colleges observe the trend in your academic record. They would prefer to see the trend increase, implying improvement. To them, a positive trend would demonstrate effort, and better attainment of study skills over time, which is extremely valuable.
Therefore, your high school transcript must demonstrate that you challenged yourself and intentionally made an effort to improve yourself as a student.
In your college essays, you will explain all of your extracurriculars; this includes your passions, leadership roles, activities, etc.… Therefore, you must make your essays very personal and reflective of you as an individual. Colleges can differentiate between genuine and ingenuine, so use this opportunity to express yourself sincerely.
A critical element that colleges look at, apart from grades, is whether a student has taken the role of leadership upon themselves. The primary concept of leadership revolves around the idea of taking the initiative to better the world around you. This means taking action and starting/leading something important to you. For example: starting a business, coaching a local sports team, running an impactful club, etc.… However, colleges prefer to see roles of leadership that get you more involved in the community and out of our typical comfort zone.
Colleges take into consideration your level of commitment/excellence in a particular activity. They want to be able to see how you dedicate time to your passions and hobbies to grow as an individual for yourself. To attain an accurate perspective of you as a student, they prefer to see you as a person outside of school also. If you’re passionate about sports, music, dance, art… explain your commitment and progression over time. That gives colleges a sense of your level of dedication, passion, and hard work. Therefore, it is essential to explain how you are set apart. What do you have that others do not, and how are you unique?
In conclusion, personalize your college applications and strive to set yourself apart. Make it clear that you intend to improve and grow as a student and an individual.