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 Students prepare for the SAT in order to receive high scores, which will in turn boost their standings for college admissions.
Photo by: Erin king, Photographer

By: Jillian Lachcik, Reporter

When applying to colleges, it seems as if pressing that final submit button during senior year is the most important moment. However, it’s actually what happens in the years leading up to hitting that button that can make or break a student during the college admission process.

Colleges all throughout the country have a diverse population of students, but each of those admitted students had to get noticed in some way. While there are many ways to get noticed, there are plenty of stand-out factors as to what colleges are really looking for. These factors include high grades, an above-average curriculum schedule, efficient standardized test scores, and activities outside of school.

Obviously, one of the biggest factors for getting accepted into college is grades, mainly throughout freshman, sophomore, junior, and the first half of senior year. Colleges are definitely interested in how a student’s grades match up to others in their class, usually in math, English, science, and social studies. Grades are by far the biggest factor to enhance student’s chances of getting noticed by a college and are worth about 60 percent of importance in a college acceptance.

Colleges also pay close attention to the curriculum a student may choose to take during their high school career. For example, a student who takes Advanced Placement and Honors classes or a student who takes their full slate of core classes all four years of high school will appear more well-rounded and efficient to colleges. In addition, by taking these courses, students will be far more prepared for college classes.

Senior Kaleen Perkins says, “By taking difficult classes, maintaining a good GPA, doing well on SAT/ACT, and being involved in extracurricular activities is what colleges mainly look for and what I am focusing on.”

Besides these factors, colleges also tend to look closely at a student’s standardized test scores and how well they perform on these tests. The SAT and ACT retain 0f significant importance for students applying to college. By reading, studying, and in turn performing well on these tests, a student will gain more and more credibility with colleges across the country.

Junior Amelia Green says, “Test scores, getting good grades, admission essays, and pursuing something not normally followed will definitely help colleges to notice you.”

Colleges mainly want a mix of diverse students to cover their campus, and this is why they also pay attention to a student’s extracurricular activities, such as sports, clubs, or volunteerism. By showing that one has learned and grown from their activity, colleges will view this as a leadership and growing experience.

Senior Daniel Sierra says, “Being involved in school activities like clubs and sports can really make you stand out instead of staying at home all day to study; anyone can do that.”

When it comes to college, being a well-rounded, interesting, and smart individual is what most of colleges look for, and by acquiring these factors, it is more likely that a student will be accepted.