Side Menu Ends, main content for this page begins
Back to Side Menu (includes search)

What are colleges looking for?

Posted on: April 6, 2017

by Abby Dye

   High school goes by quickly - before you know it you will be entering your senior year. If you are college bound, then you have probably already taken a few AP classes and have most or all of your graduation requirements completed. You are now ready to apply for college but you still have no idea what colleges are looking for. This fear and anxiety can be overwhelming.

First of all, breathe a sigh of relief - it isn’t that hard to get accepted to most colleges. For nearly all colleges, over 75% applicants are accepted, so more than likely you’ll be accepted too. However, don’t let this fact make you feel like you can just give up on grades. Choosing a college is an important decision to make because many college graduates acquire an enormous amount of debt in the form of student loans. On the positive side, you can save up to half by deciding to go to an in state college. If you are concerned about whether you will get a job immediately after graduating, rest assured; most colleges will aid students in the intimidating job and internship search. Administrators at the college level want their students to be successful so that they can boast a solid job placement rate.

One of the biggest concerns for anyone is: do colleges actually look at your social media accounts? The answer is some do but most colleges don’t. For the most part, colleges don’t bother with looking at social media since it would take way too long. Think about it- is it really humanly possible to look at over 20,000 college applicants’ social media accounts? Of course not, but still keep in mind that whatever you post, it’s for the world to see.

To apply to most colleges, you need to send your transcript, ACT and/or SAT scores, application letter, letters of recommendation and an application fee. Get the best ACT and SAT scores you can because the higher score, the more you impress colleges and the more likely it is that you will receive a scholarship.  The average score on the ACT is a 20. If you get a 24 or more, your chance of getting into that dream college gets better.  If you happen to get a 16 or below, retake the ACT. For the SAT, you want to score 1000 and if you get around 1200 that increases your chances of getting into the college of your choice. But if you receive 840, try to retake the SAT. When going out and deciding who you should ask for recommendations, try asking teachers in whose classes you struggle. If you are hardworking and make enough effort with the teacher noticing, they could write about how determined you are and how you don’t give up. The application fee will be between $25 and $75 per application, so limit yourself to applying to five or six universities.

    If you are a procrastinator, you can’t wait until the last month of your senior year to get all of your applications in. Rather, you should apply during the summer before entering your senior year of high school. The latest you should ever wait is the fall to apply; any later than that  becomes very risky and may impact the chances of you getting accepted. Remember, for colleges to sort through every application, it takes time which is why the earlier you send your application, the quicker you will get results.  

     Overall, applying for college is not as nightmarish as perceived. You should have fun in deciding what college you want to go to, such as visiting colleges and finding out what interests you. Remember to go to a college that you want. If you are too hesitant or want to go just because your friends are going there, try to focus on picking colleges that share your interests rather than wherever the crowd goes. Chances are, you’ll end up loving it!