Capstone College and Career Advising

What are colleges looking for in prospective freshmen?

January 8th, 2014 by

What are colleges looking for in prospective freshmen?

There’s no magic formula for getting accepted into the college of your choice.

Believe me, I wish there were. It would make my job easier, and it would make the students I work with much less stressed. Nobody likes rejection, and everybody wants to get into their first-choice school.

The fact is, every school makes decisions a little differently. Some put more weight on grades; some care more about test scores; a few are especially swayed by strong essays or a really unusual community service achievement. And yes, each school can change criteria slightly from year to year.

So I like to encourage students to excel where they can, but also to be well-rounded.

The Independent Educational Consultants Association, of which I am a member, has developed a list of the top qualities colleges look for when evaluating applicants. Looking at some of the key items on this list is a great way to start identifying your own strengths – and to pinpoint areas where you might apply more effort in the months and years before applications are due:

If this list looks daunting – relax. Nobody is perfect on every single aspect. Your mission is to do your personal best – and make sure you don’t underestimate your talents and skills – so that you present your best side to the admissions office.