What Colleges and Universities are Looking For in a Succesful Applicant

While colleges and universities look at class rank and GPA, test scores and volunteer work, they also look for those qualities that set students apart from others.

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Your application needs to stand out among stand-out people

In thinking about the sheer amount of applications that admissions officers read, consider how you'll stand out in the pile. You don't want to be just "standard." You want to be different, memorable

What Does Harvard Look for in Students: Harvard Admission Criteria Beyond the Basics

A resume or portfolio to show examples of your work or your professional background. For example, showcasing extra-curricular activities - what sets you apart from your peers.  Something that makes you unique. 

A Spike in Your Extracurriculars

49% of colleges surveyed regard students' extracurricular activities moderately or considerably important. The basic point of a college application is to make you stand out from other applicants in a positive, memorable, and unique way.

Source: PrepScholar

Extracurricular Activities

Colleges want to win over students who work hard in school—but they also want to see that you’ve got a well-rounded life outside of your academic pursuits. You should participate in a few well-chosen extracurricular activities.

Challenging Extracurricular Activities


Colleges also want to see students who stretch themselves beyond the limits of the classroom. The kinds of activities you choose say a lot about your personality and even your morals. Whether or not you stick with your chosen undertakings exhibits your ability to commit to important projects in the long term.