College Application: What Good Schools are Looking for in Students

Last Updated on October 14, 2016

African American senior submits her college application online at the school library.When it comes to submitting a college application, there may be thousands of slots available for first-year college students in a single school, but there are also millions of deserving high school graduates vying for those slots. Highly selective schools may look for more qualifications besides those included in the college application. Less selective colleges would look at a student's portfolio and determine whether they meet the necessary requirements. The problem is that whether or not the college is particular, the roster of incoming students may be complete and there's no room for one more.

The way universities select their first-year students varies, but some things seem to be constant among the colleges when it comes to what schools are looking for in a college application.

1. A Good Fit for the College

Every college wants students that will be integrated into their student body as soon as possible. There is a certain culture that exists in a college, and they want students that will contribute to that culture. It helps if you know what a particular college is known for, and this will also help you determine which colleges would most likely accept your application. The history of the school, as well as their roster of alumni, may also provide useful clues on what types of students are ideal.

There are also things like race diversity, the state of origin, as well as a certain ratio of male to female students area a factor. Thus, if you were turned down by a particular college even if you know you're qualified, they may have been working with a certain number of students and a certain percentage of students to accept from your state.

Your ability to adjust may play a significant trait that you can mention in your college essay. If you can jive well with most people, the college admissions officer will see that as a good thing. Many colleges accept qualified students from all walks of life, which means you may have to room with someone who doesn't share your faith or has a different cultural background.

2. Spirit of Volunteerism

A potential for philanthropy would also help you get into the best colleges. Not only are they assured that they have a well-meaning person in the group of freshman, but they may also be looking for students that will represent the college well when it comes to social work and community involvement.

Just listing your volunteer work experiences is not enough. Besides the recommendation letter from your guidance counselor, your application should include recommendation letters from members of the organization where you spend your time volunteering.

3. Unique Talents and Skills

Any college would be eager to get applications from well-rounded, highly talented individuals, which is why students should always mention unique skills and talents in their college application regardless of the applicability of that talent in the programs they want to enroll in. It's not unusual to find a math major who's also an active member of an acapella singing group, or a science major who used to be a debate champion in high school. These particular skills make a student stand out, and colleges would see great value in students with exceptional skills.



Scroll to Top