Applying to and Choosing a College
College Application Guide
How College Admissions Works
College admissions requirements vary from school to school, so it is important to understand in advance what you need to do for each college you want to attend. Colleges look for students that are passionate about succeeding in school and in their careers, so it’s important to demonstrate these qualities.
If the colleges you are interested in are not open enrollment (meaning no initial grade requirements), you’ll need to stand out from the crowd as much as possible. Exceeding minimum academic and extracurricular/volunteer requirements, and putting your best foot forward in your essay(s) is a good way to demonstrate that you can succeed.
Below are three review categories to keep in mind for college admissions:
- Academic review
Your overall GPA and SAT/ACT scores are compared to admissions requirements. Your high school grades over time are also reviewed. A weak start in high school with a strong finish your last two years is better than a strong start with a weak finish.
- Non-academic review
Your school-life balance and how well you manage good grades and extracurricular activities are evaluated. Colleges also look for ways that you give back to your community (such as volunteer work).
- Financial review (post admission)
While not a factor for admission, your FAFSA and other financial information is evaluated to determine the level of financial aid, tuition assistance, and scholarships the college might offer you.