So, what do colleges REALLY look for?

With application season underway, the House of Tutors team thought it might be a good time to review your student’s college application checklist. Whether your student has already applied to a long list of schools or he or she is just starting to research, the list below is a good way of gauging what colleges are really looking for in an ideal student.

Academic Ability. Obviously, good grades and good test scores (we’re talking SAT and ACT) play an important role in the college application process. These are considered the most numerical, objective way for colleges to gauge a potential student’s interest and aptitude for school. However, these scores have a deeper layer that is often forgotten by students and parents alike. Colleges want to see good scores, of course, but the types of courses and the rigor of said courses is also vastly important. Most universities want well-rounded students who show learning agility and an interest in academia. They know that a student who challenges his or herself at a young age is likely to make for an invested, motivated college student.

Leadership & Initiative. Does your student take an active leadership role in the areas that interest him or her? Colleges want to know! They are looking for students who not only join clubs and organizations but also take on personal responsibilities in these groups. Leadership roles convey to a college’s admissions staff that your student is driven and responsible, as well as well-received by his or her peers. These are all excellent traits for a college student who will be living on his or her own, navigating school and social activities all at once.