As you set out on the college admissions journey, it’s important to keep in mind what really matters in the process. 

By understanding how an admissions officer will consider your application, you can ensure that your best self comes through on the page. According to our college admissions team, the following traits are the ones that matter most in the admissions process.

1. How much you’ve done with the opportunities you’ve had

Because your transcript as well as your school profile will be sent along with your application, college admissions officers will be able to tell if the classes you did well in were easier or more challenging (and likewise with the classes you struggled in). Moreover, admissions officers will look closely at your activities. Did you take full advantage of your extracurriculars? Did you take a leadership role? Here, the key is to show that you went above and beyond other students with the same background/talent/opportunities as you.

2. Your fit at the school

As explained in this post, it’s important to choose the schools to which you’re applying for specific reasons. Don’t just blindly pick schools based on your favorite football teams (unless, of course, you’re a football player). Look for schools that would fit your own interests, both academic and extracurricular, and then thoroughly explain this compatibility in your application. And be realistic. If your test scores are far above the average scores at a given college, that school might not offer the most stimulating academic environment for you. Or, if you’ve always loved cities and could not see yourself ever living away from one, you probably should not apply to Deep Springs College.

3. Consistency between your stated interests and your application

The classes and extracurricular activities you list on your application should be consistent with your stated interests. Often, a student will say that he or she wants to study medicine, but will not have engaged in any activities that prove this interest. Or, a student will claim he or she loves helping people, yet the application’s activity list will bear no sign of volunteer or public service work. It’s important to support any stated interests and talents with actual proof.