Applying for colleges is an exciting and nerve-wracking experience for high school students. There’s plenty of advice out there on how to get into your dream school, but what are admissions officers really looking for? While grades and test scores are important, they aren’t the only factors in the admissions process. It is common knowledge that admissions officers want to build a diverse and well-rounded student body but it is vital to note that they are specifically looking for students who can positively contribute to the campus community and have a clear sense of purpose. In this blog post, we’ll break down what admissions officers want to see in your application beyond your academic achievements.

Academic Achievement

Academic achievement and performance are essential components of college applications, and admissions officers pay close attention to student grades and course rigor. While taking advanced courses and earning good grades is important, it’s equally critical to show a trend of improvement. Taking on coursework that challenges you will not only signal that you are a serious candidate, but also demonstrates a willingness to tackle intellectual and academic challenges.

Authentic Interests

Admissions officers want to see that you’re authentically interested in the activities and subjects you’re pursuing. in other words, they want a class composed of specialists rather than generalists. This means that the students’ extracurricular and academic endeavors should reflect their passion, interest, and commitment to their particular field. Instead of filling your application with a laundry list of unrelated extracurriculars, focus on a few activities that align with your passions and goals. If you’re interested in engineering, for example, joining a robotics club or interning at a local engineering firm will show admissions officers that you’re committed to exploring the field. Avoiding the trap of superficial participation in multiple activities is crucial. Depth is more important than breadth when it comes to extracurricular activities.

Context Outside of Your Grades, Courses, and Activities

Admissions officers want to get a sense of who you are as a person beyond your achievements and extracurriculars. They want to know what motivates you, what your goals are, and what makes you unique. In your application essays, be sure to reveal something about yourself that can’t be found anywhere else in the application. This could be a personal experience that shaped your worldview or a special talent you have that you’re particularly proud of. Be honest and genuine in your essays, and use them as an opportunity to show admissions officers the real you.

Demonstrated Interest

Demonstrated interest refers to the ways in which you show a college that you’re truly interested in attending. This can include visiting the campus, attending information sessions or open houses, and communicating with admissions officers. By showing a college that you’re genuinely interested, you’ll increase your chances of being admitted. Demonstrated interest can also be demonstrated in the essays you write for a particular school. Be sure to do your research and incorporate specific details about the school into your essays, showing that you’re familiar with and excited about what the school has to offer.

Community Service

Lastly, admissions officers want to see a commitment to community service. Colleges want to admit students who care about the world around them and are willing to give back to their communities. This doesn’t mean you have to volunteer for dozens of organizations, but it’s important to find a cause you’re passionate about and commit to it. Whether it’s tutoring underprivileged students or participating in a local environmental cleanup effort, community service demonstrates leadership, empathy, and a commitment to something larger than oneself.

While grades and test scores are important, they aren’t the only factors that admissions officers consider when evaluating your application. By demonstrating your interests, academic achievements, context outside of your grades and activities, demonstrated interest in the school, and commitment to community service, you’ll create a well-rounded application that shows admissions officers you driven to achieve your passions. Remember to be genuine, focused, and passionate, and you’ll be on your way to getting into your dream school.

College Careers Consulting’s best advice is for current high school students is to be intentional about creating a comprehensive, one-of-a-kind college profile that will make you stand out in the college admission process. We can help you. Contact us today for a free online consultation.