Colleges’ Requirements For Applicants: What Do You Need to Know?

May 22, 2024

Colleges want to get applications from students that fit their requirements — it’s much easier for employees to filter through applications and admit top students. This means that they disclose their requirements, which give you a great opportunity to mold yourself into that perfect applicant.

This article explores what colleges want from students and how to get into the university of your dreams. 

Factors That Influence Admission

Let’s begin by explaining factors that most colleges consider when selecting applicants. Note: these criteria vary in different establishments, but the general list of factors is similar. 

Curriculum Strength

When colleges check out your grades in college prep courses, they’re checking out if you’re ready for the college gig. So, doing great in those AP courses is like waving a flag and saying, «Hey, I’m ready for this!» It shows them you’ve got what it takes to handle the upcoming academic challenges.

Even if you stumbled a bit at the start of high school, colleges appreciate a successful recovery and improvement.

College Prep Courses Grades

Colleges dig students who took the toughest courses they could handle and aced them. However, not all high schools are equal. Some don’t offer a large number of college prep classes. If that’s your situation, no worries, colleges understand.

They’ll cut you some slack. Moreover, if you actively seek challenges outside of school, such as enrolling in community college classes or taking online AP courses, colleges view this favorably.

Admission Test Scores

Your SAT and/or ACT scores could be a big deal, especially if the college you’re eyeing is all about them. But guess what? Many colleges these days are chill with different test setups. They might be test-optional, test-flexible, or even test-blind. So, no need to worry if standardized tests aren’t your cup of tea. 

However, if you aced those AP tests or the International Baccalaureate (IB) exams, you’ve done a great job. Some top-tier colleges dig those scores. Want to crush those tests? Consider taking a college test prep course or a prep book. 

Grades In All Your Courses

Your GPA is like your academic report card from high school, and colleges are curious about it. They’ll peek at your transcript to see how well you performed. What’s a transcript? It’s a list of all the classes you took in high school and how you did in each.

Some colleges also interested in the types of classes you tackled, like honors or AP courses, if your school offered them. 

How To Get Into A College Of Your Dreams?

Good grades are awesome, but here’s a list of other criteria to consider:

  • Extracurricular activities. Colleges love it when applicants do something outside of studying. These activities offer insights into the person, like their academic abilities, personality, and what makes them tick in general.
  • Recommendation letters. Colleges seek letters from teachers, school counselors, and similar people because they want to understand what kind of person you are.
  • Essays or writing style examples. The application process offers an opportunity to demonstrate your personality through essays and additional questions, which can be crucial when being considered as an applicant. So try to improve your writing skills and learn admission essay requirements. You can even ask professionals on to help write your paper and they will show you how to do it better.
  • Clear interest. What are the chances of getting in if you show interest and clear passion? They are much higher. Colleges want to accept individuals with a clear goal to get in. 
  • Class rank. Good news for applicants: class rank isn’t as important as it was. You still have to perform well, but rank isn’t a deciding factor. 
  • Personal qualities. Colleges aren’t just after brains; they want to know about your heart and soul, too. They’re scouting for traits like curiosity, kindness, and grit. Take a peek at their websites, mission statements, or even their social media. 

Now you know what most establishments want from their applicants.

Criteria Of Different Colleges: Are They The Same?

Colleges don’t have the same rules. That’s why it’s smart to contact a college counselor. You can also check out a few examples of requirements below:

  • Big universities. Think of these like a numbers game. Sometimes, it’s all about GPA and test scores; sometimes, it’s about extra activities, and so on. 
  • Highly selective colleges. These colleges sift through the cream of the crop and look for those extra sparks to make their pick.
  • Liberal arts colleges. These establishments pay attention to essays and how much you want to join them.

Naturally, every college has different requirements. Your main job is to research these establishments so that you know what individuals they prefer. Check out statistics (if there are any) and see what types of students they regularly admit. Then, make sure that you meet their criteria and apply.

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