Obviously the person reviewing your college application doesn’t know you personaly. The only criteria they have for evaluating your application is what you put on paper. Here are some of the criteria colleges may use in evaluating your application.
Are your senior classes challenging? Don’t plan on “taking your senior year off” and then getting into a top notch college. Colleges want to see you are continuing to take classes that are challenging. They still ask for your spring transcript so make sure it looks good.
Are you taking college classes while in high school such as Running Start? Take advantage of college classes in high school. They look good on your application and they are a cost-effective way to get college credit.
Have your grades and test scores improved over time? If you had a tough semester or year because of a personal or family tragedy, schools will make allowances for it. What they want to see is improvement over time and a student that has the best chance to succeed in their institution. People who have overcome personal tragedy are sometimes the people with the will to succeed in college.
Have you received any academic rewards? Keep track of these in a file or folder. You think you will remember all of them but you won’t. Keep a list!
Do you participate in activities? Have you taken a leadership role? Sports, music, debate or FFA are great organizations that are recognized by colleges as ways to make a well-rounded student. Get involved!
Have you overcome a disability or other hardship? This is part of your story and if you have had to overcome a tough period of time in your life it can show you are the type of person who can rise above tough times and endure to get what you want in life.
Do you bring diversity or multicultural awareness? Colleges like to be diverse so if you can bring that to the table by your heritage or background, that can work in your favor.
Do you have a special talent or athletic ability? Singing, acting, dancing or sports are all popular college activities and if you are really good you may just be what your next college is looking for. If you are a special athlete, they may already know about you!
Some of these things can be found on your application but most will never be known unless you include them in your personal statement.
© 2013 Roger D. Chamberlain