What are the best qualities colleges look for in high school students? High school has its ups and downs but when you get down to choosing the right college, you have well and truly entered your life as an adult. The decision of choosing the right college is dependent upon a lot of things like the curriculum, the faculty, the quality of education, etc. After all it is a very important decision; one that paves the path to our career.

Just as students have certain expectations from the colleges, the colleges have expectations from the students. Towards this end, colleges conduct entrance exams and interviews. They want students who desire to excel in the particular field of their choice, and who show the promise and dedication to do so.

Best Qualities Colleges Look For in High School Students

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Colleges receive so many applications every year for a limited amount of seats. The process of selecting students based on their college application is truly difficult and tiresome. The colleges decide on the students by judging their applications. Here are a few most important qualities that colleges seek in high school students

Strong Grades and Transcripts

Colleges look for students who have consistently strong grades throughout their high school. This shows them the level of effort and hard work that the student is willing to put in for their studies. They like to see progress on your mark list. Colleges also like to see the students take on challenging subjects and excel in them. The student’s transcripts should include these particular subjects and several honors if they possess them.

SAT/ACT Scores

Best Qualities Colleges Look For in High School Students

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Almost every student who plans to go to college dreads giving the SATs. As scores on the standardized tests like SATs or ACTs are taken into consideration by the colleges while admitting new students, it is very important to give it your best shot.  These scores should typically reflect your high school performance as it would prove your consistency.

Activities and Community Service

Colleges look for a history of involvement in extra-curricular activities. These activities help build personality and foster qualities such as leadership, team-work, etc. Engaging in community services shows the college that the student is genuinely interested in being a contributor towards helping people and the world at large. This can be shown by volunteering for causes that are really important to the student.

Life Experiences

Using your free time to do summer jobs or other activities outside school especially in the field that the student is interested in, shows the colleges that he/she is a dedicated and responsible person. Involving yourself in such activities helps your personality to develop and mature. It also teaches you how to interact with people outside school.  

Best Qualities Colleges Look For in High School Students

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Essay and Recommendations

A well written essay should be very personal and reflect your values, goals and your personality. It should be a well-constructed essay that clearly shows them your thought processes and ambitions. It should also include your reasons for choosing the college that you are applying to. Recommendations are a way to ascertain that the student does indeed possess the attributes that he/she purports to have. Positive recommendations from your school teachers or your employers should include your special skill set and personality characteristics such as integrity, reliability, honesty, etc. If you are involved in sports, a letter of recommendation from the coach can help enhance your application.

These are but a few qualities that colleges seek in a student. In short, colleges are looking to admit individuals that excel in both academics and extracurricular activities. It’s not only about academics or activities; it’s about the balance of both. That is what makes it challenging; colleges are keen on admitting students who can undertake such challenges. Thousands of students apply to colleges every year. You need to understand the criteria that your chosen college holds up when it comes to student eligibility. A proportionate mix of academic and extracurricular success is what you need to aim for.

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Stephanie ColacoStephanie Colaco is a freelance writer, editor and former HR professional. An Honors college graduate, she spends her free time helping students/professionals achieve their academic goals by publishing articles and creating blog posts that answer their many questions on online IT courses and the best qualities colleges look for in high school students.