What Colleges Want


Standardized test scores are very important, but they are not the end-all for your admission into college. Schools are looking for versatile, industrious students with a variety of skills and interests. Here’s three ways to make a good impression on your application. 

High grades in rigorous classes  
Good test scores show what you’ve learned and that you can perform under pressure, but high and increasing grades in challenging courses demonstrate an ongoing commitment to learning and improvement. Getting a high score on the SAT and ACT does not mean you can now lose focus on your classes. Continue to apply yourself, take honors and AP classes, and do your best. 

Dedication to activities
Your extra-curricular activities are not limited to school-based sports and clubs. Demonstrate that you are committed to a cause, even if that cause is starting a savings account with your earnings from a part-time job. Volunteer work, involvement with a church or other community group, and summer school are all excellent ways to show your interests and character. You don’t have to be a member of every club in town; dedication to one or two causes shows that you’re an involved citizen.   

Awards and Talents
School is a big part of your life, but it doesn’t define you. Your college essay provides the perfect opportunity to detail parts of your life that are totally separate from school. Describe the Awana emblem you’re most proud of, your guitar solo during the the battle of the bands, your prize-winning pies from the county fair—pick something that you’ve accomplished and that makes you happy. Let the admissions office know what you can do with your SAT and ACT scores, but also show them who you are by writing about your interests and talents.

Jack Neimark