What really happens in college admissions

You've probably heard from a parent, a friend or your counselor what they think is the most important thing to do to prepare for college. Do you want to know how the colleges really evaluate students applying to their institutions? The National Association of College Admissions Counselors publishes an annual survey of colleges and universities. Following are factors college officials identified as important in the college admission decision, ranked from most important to least important. Some highly selective colleges would consider all the factors, while colleges with less selective admission would not consider all the factors.

  1. grades in college-prep courses
  2. standardized admission test scores
  3. grades in all courses
  4. class rank
  5. essay or writing sample
  6. counselor recommendation
  7. teacher recommendation
  8. work/extracurricular activities
  9. interview
  10. student demonstrated interests
  11. scores from additional subject tests
  12. state graduation exam scores
  13. race/ethnicity
  14. ability to pay
  15. state of residence

Adapted from ACTís News You Can Use April 2005.