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Each college seeks a range of different qualities in their applicants. However, the overlap in common qualities is significant. High school students who are college-bound can benefit from taking note of these traits as they progress through high school. 

  1. Rigor and difficulty of high school curriculum: Colleges are most interested in students who are high achievers and challenge themselves by taking advanced placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and Honors courses.
  2. High-grade point average (GPA): A student who consistently earns good grades achieves a higher GPA, which is preferred by colleges. Schools weigh the merit of good grades against the difficulty level of the classes in which the grades were achieved.
  3. Impressive scores on standardized tests: The ACT and SAT are generally used to measure a student’s academic achievement. The higher the scores on either of these tests, the more interested the schools are in the student.
  4. Passion and commitment to extracurricular activities: Schools prefer students who demonstrate deep and personal involvement in activities outside of class time. If a student is committed to a few activities with much dedication, they are likely to be preferred over students who participate in many activities with little passion or achievement. 
  5. A unique and quality essay: A student’s essay should provide insight into their personality. The writing should reflect a part of the student that is not otherwise emphasized in other areas of the application.
  6. Leadership roles: Students who engage in leadership activities, especially those in which they are most passionate, are valued by institutions of higher learning.
  7. Diversity from other students: Schools value a diverse student population, thus they prefer students whose demographic and personal characteristics lend uniqueness to the school’s student body.
  8. Strong recommendations: When a counselor or teacher provides a personalized and unique reference of a student, the college is able to gain more insight into the type of student they are considering.
  9. Character and values: A student who demonstrates that they are valuable to a community due to their high moral character stands in good favor with a college.
  10. Demonstrated interest: Schools prefer students who are enthusiastic about attending the college, and thus demonstrate interest via activities such as visiting campus, attending information sessions, and signing up for newsletters. These students take precedence over those that the college never hears from until the application is submitted.

If you would like help with the admissions process to college, graduate school, or professional programs anywhere in the world, please contact Global Academic Consultants.