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College Admissions: 15 Factors That Colleges Consider Important

As colleges and universities continue to receive more and more applications each year, they need to determine how they will select their freshmen class from the thousands of college applicants who apply. While grades in rigorous courses and test scores have always been important, you may be surprised to see some of the other factors and where they rank sat tips.

The National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) just recently released their annual survey of the factors colleges and universities consider the most important when making college decisions. This survey gives students a chance to see which factors have become more or less important in the college admission process. It also helps students see how realistically their credentials compare to other college applicants they may be competing against.

The factors that colleges consider important for college admissions are the result of a NACAC survey that is sent to all of the member colleges and universities. It is important to keep in mind that each of these factors may be considered differently from school to school.

The results are as follows:

1. Grades in college prep courses: 83.4%
2. Strength of curriculum: 65.7%
3. Admission test scores (SAT and ACT): 59.3%
4. Grades in all courses: 46.2%
5. Essay or writing sample: 26.6%
6. Student’s demonstrated interest: 23%
7. Class rank: 21.8%
8. Counselor recommendation: 19.4%
9. Teacher recommendations: 19%
10. IB or AP subject test scores: 9.6%
11. College interview: 9.2%
12. Extracurricular activities: 7.4%
13. Portfolio: 5.9%
14. SAT II scores: 5.3%
15. State graduation exams: 4.2%

We can probably assume that more private colleges than public ones responded to this survey. Since admission to many public colleges is based more on grades and test scores, some of the other factors might not rank as importantly. Private schools usually evaluate each college application a little more carefully, with multiple members of the college admissions committee making their comments and criticisms and helping to make the final decisions.

The information from this survey is particularly important for students who are just beginning their high school careers. It allows them to know what to expect so they can plan ahead. This way they will not be disappointed as a senior that they did not take the right courses, prepare for the SAT and ACT, or show the demonstrated interest that has gained more importance than any other factor on the NACAC survey.