Dennis Nicholson, director of admissions at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y. gives his answer.
Q: What do most colleges look for in an application? – Amy Chow
A: Amy, this is a frequently asked question from students in the college search process.
Although some variation takes place from school to school, there are a few common threads that most of us share. I will attempt to supply you with the areas most of us share in common.
1. Academic rigor. In other words, the courses you opt to take vs. what courses are available at your school. School counselors and admission representatives are valuable resources for advice on choosing the appropriate program of study.
2. Overall performance. We evaluate your work from year to year.
3. Rank in class, if applicable at your school.
4. SAT/ACT scores. Most schools require either the SAT or ACT for admission. Be sure to ask the colleges you are considering if they require these tests.
5. Extracurricular activities. Colleges are seeking students with demonstrated leadership and volunteer work. Do your best to get involved in a diverse number of school and community related activities!
6. Recommendations. Most colleges seek a letter written on your behalf.
7. Writing sample. In most cases, you are asked to supply an essay. Creativity is important!
8. Interview with an admissions representative. Many colleges offer the opportunity for you to interview with a member of the admissions staff. If this is the case at your colleges of choice, you are encouraged to take advantage. Best wishes for success!