College admission pro tip #1 – know what they are looking for

I share a list of items that admission officers care about so you know what marks to make in this post. That really helps your admission officers to SEE you.


When I was in high school, I was reluctant to “comply” with what’s seen to be good. I only did the schoolwork that I thought was worth doing.

For example, I got As on all my exams but ended with semester B on AP Calculus. For?

I wanted to prove that you don’t need to do homework and still be good at math. But in fact, I learned before I joined Arcadia High School in junior year. I was just showing off, really.

Colleges could not QUICKLY recognize me as the math genius I thought I was in my Calculus class with that B.

They saw me as a student with a B in AP calculus. “So unfair!” I thought.

On the other side of the table, “I wish I could learn more about this student beyond grades and all, but I can’t because of time contains and so many applicants…

If you don’t know how to present yourself, it makes it hard for admission officers to see you.

Help them out, help yourself.


Get good marks, get awarded, get recognized, and accomplish things to show.

people sitting on chair in front of table while holding pens during daytime

What do admission committees look at? Here is the list:

  • Academic Record:
    • GPA
    • Class Rank
    • Rigor of Curriculum
  • Standardized Test Scores:
    • SAT
    • ACT
    • SAT2
    • AP Exam
    • Other
  • Engagement Outside of the Classroom:
    • Extra-Curricular Activities
    • Community Service
    • Work Experience or Creative Project
    • Other
  • Personal Qualities:
    • Letter of Recommendation
    • College Essays (Theme)
    • Counselor Interview Report
    • Other
  • Hooks and Institutional Priorities:
    • Legacy Connection
    • Donation Potential
    • Underrepresented Ethnicity
    • Socioeconomic/
    • Geographic Background
    • Exceptional Talents
    • Level of Interest

Make a copy of this Google Doc worksheet to do some goal-setting for each item so you can keep your eye on the prize. While you focus on doing what matters to you, make sure you also get the results for admission officers to easily recognize your effort.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: