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5 Things to Help You Succeed in College

By Lee Norwood

1. Your Attendance

The easy peasy way to ensure success is to show up for class and sit in the front. This will help with focus! Your attendance is a strong predictor of future success. And at the cost per credit hour you are paying…it makes sense to maximize your time.

2. Follow the Syllabus

The first day of class is usually the day you receive your class syllabus. It contains important information that you need to succeed in that class; required textbook(s), course policies (suchas attendance), schedule of assignments and their deadlines, contact information for the professor and his/her office hours, etc. If the expectations from your professor are not clear, please ask. It will be up to you get it right; and everyone wants to help a student who seeks to be successful.

3. Professor Access

Professors do a lot more than teach. They conduct research, write articles and books, speak at conferences, facilitate workshops, etc. This is why professors are not always on campus and why they schedule office hours when they are available to students. Professor/TA’s hours are either included in the course syllabus or are posted on the professor’s office door. If you need a more specific one-on-one appointment, just ask and include when you would like to meet and the reason for your request. Professors can have a huge impact on your careers and life. Connecting with them can lead to amazing research opportunities, internships, and even job offers. My son found his first great job through a professor.

4. Class Choices

Each semester you will have the responsibility of choosing courses to fulfill your graduation requirements. This can be quite fun because there are usually several unique, quirky and interesting options available within general education (a.k.a. core) requirements. As you move through your curriculum, many classes are required and must be taken in sequence: 201 before 202 before 301 etc. Although it seems logical to forge forward on a certain track, there may be other considerations such as the opportunity to take a special class with an awesome professor that begs the opportunity to veer off course. Be flexible! Broaden your horizons.

When you need assistance with scheduling classes or staying on track with your major, talk with your advisor. Advisors know the system and can be very insightful! We want you to graduate on time and working with an advisor will help.

5. Registration and Procrastination

Register early! Classes fill up. Colleges may provide a few days for registration, but don’t procrastinate. Be prepared so when registration opens, you’re ready to grab the classes and the schedule you desire. If you chose getting a Starbucks and hanging out with friends before heading back to your dorm to log in when registration opens, then you are not allowed to grumble when one of the classes you wanted filled up in less time than it took your barista to make your half-skim, half-soy, no foam latte.

Your Senior Survey & Letter of Recommendation

Your high school counselor can be a great ally in assisting you during the college application process. One of the ways they can support you is by writing a letter of recommendation about you to colleges. So how do they know what to write?

Apart from meeting with you, guidance counselors use your responses to the “ Senior Survey” to understand your goals and strengths, and will pass their insights on to the colleges that are considering your application. An Assistant Director of Admission at Chapman University says “High school counselors are our partners. They provide valuable information about our applicants and we trust them to be honest and forthright with us. Their letter is often the most important letter we read in a file.”

Just like your high school counselor provides accurate information to college admissions offices, you should be honest and thoughtful in your responses. Stay positive, even when asked about what you did not like, or what your weaknesses are. If you’ve faced challenges, talk about them! You can downplay issues to an extent, but not to the point that you’re glossing over something serious.

You should also know that your high school counselor is quite busy. It’s not uncommon for a counselor to use quotes from your answers to the survey verbatim when writing your recommendation letter. That is why it’s important to make this a priority and put forth the effort to provide excellent responses.

Your school may have different questions, but this gives you an outline for answers. Put effort and thought into answering them!

1. What are your plans for next year? Be specific! Name colleges you are interested in, potential majors, as well as possible graduate school and career ideas.

2. Which courses at our school have you enjoyed the most and why? 2 – 3 short strong sentences.

3. Which courses at this school have you enjoyed the least and why? 1 sentence and do not bash the teacher, nicely explain why.

4. Is your high school record an accurate measure of your ability and potential? If not, why not? This takes introspection and is worth thinking through and answering intelligently.

5. Have you participated in any summer programs, work or study opportunities that have been of significant importance to you? Please describe. 3 – 5 sentences.

6. What do you believe are your greatest strengths and your greatest weaknesses? Explain. Please list one small minor weakness and do not go into a lot detail. If you can show how you are addressing it, even better.

7. List 5 adjectives that describe you and explain. You can use the personality profile that we did to find these adjectives.

8. What do you plan to study in college and why? (If you haven’t decided on a particular major or concentration, what academic area(s) interest you?)

9. What is your favorite thing to do that you don’t think I know about?

10. What has been your most memorable positive experience at this school? Or what accomplishment are you most proud of and why? Please describe.

11. List all extracurricular activities, including sports, clubs and community organizations. Include years of participation. Please give them a copy of the activities sheet or resume if you have it done.

12. Is there anything else you think is important for us to know as we develop your letter of recommendation? Here you can thank them for their support, or tell them how you have matured this year.

Show your answers to your parents for quality assurance before you submit it to your high school guidance counselor.

The Summer After Senior Year First, breathe. Second, read below.

By Lee Norwood  
We know this is a busy month with AP testing, graduation, parties, life, etc., so we are hoping this message helps ease some of the stress you may be feeling about your student heading off to
college later this summer.  If your student is still trying to make a final college decision, we are here to help!  Please reach out to us to set up a meeting or a phone call.  We understand this is a big decision and choosing the right college will not only impact your students’ life, but yours as well.   Most of your students have already paid the Freshman Enrollment Deposit and completed the housing contract.  The next step is to complete registration for your college’s summer orientation.  Please remember that the date will not be confirmed until your student’s orientation registration is paid in full. And make sure your student has their college e-mail set up and that they are checking it regularly.   College websites should have a full checklist including information on everything from Placement tests, housing needs, and hotel options, to exactly what forms are needed for immunizations.   When thinking of moving and packing to begin your student’s freshman year, it is a good idea to coordinate with your student’s new roommates as to how to furnish their new “home.” You only need one microwave, one fridge, possibly an icemaker (the newest cool dorm accessory) and the right tools in case you are lofting, lifting or assembling bunkbeds, shelves etc. For students who will be traveling from far distances, shipping your items to the college is a great option and waiting to shop locally can help too.  You will receive your college address after room selection and will be able to ship items shortly.

For room ideas and other interesting tips, you and your student should follow us on Instagram @annapcollegeconsulting.

Enjoy your summer! It will be a short one.  
 

Ethics in the Independent Education Consultant (IEC) Profession

On Tuesday March 12, 2019, a nationwide bribery and fraud scheme to help students gain admission to elite colleges and universities came to light.  This has shocked members of the Independent Education Consultant community and, I’m sure, many parents of students who are currently using or considering using a college consultant to help their son or daughter navigate the college admissions process.  So, who can you trust and how can you protect yourself?  There are two main ways families can ensure they are working with an individual or organization that abides by ethical consulting practices: fully vetting the college consultant and the consultant’s participation in appropriate associations.

First, when deciding to work with a college consultant, it is very important that you vet them fully.  There are several red flags that families should be aware of when working with a College Consultant; IECA has come up with a list of 12 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an IEC and 12 Warning Signs that an IEC is Not Worth Hiring.

Second, there are three main college consultant associations.  Each association has a strict Code of Ethics that the consultant is required to follow and Annapolis College Consulting is proud to be a member of all three associations.

  1. Independent Education Consultants Association (IECA)
  2. Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA)
  3. National Association for College Admissions Counselors (NACAC) or their local NACAC group

Here, you can view the Code of Ethics for IECA, HECA, and NACAC.

In Mark Skarlow’s (IECA’s CEO) State of the Profession 2018 presentation, he stated:

  • 30 years ago, the percentage of IEC’s that “belonged” to a professional association was over 80%
  • Today the 2,700+ affiliated IECs represent only 20% of the total

This means that families who fail to fully vet their college consultant have an 80% chance of working with someone who has no standard of ethics that they are being held accountable.  This is not to say that all unaffiliated college consultants are unethical people, however, families can rest much easier at night by working with someone who is affiliated with at least one of the professional organizations that were mentioned previously.

It is without a doubt disheartening to have this scandal drag good, caring, ethical college consultant’s names through the mud.  However, I am confident that the light this is shedding on the profession will bring more awareness of the services that are available to students and families and encourage them to seek out the “good ones.”

10 Things Any Student Can Do To Improve Their Success

The college process is complex, and you can’t control all the elements, but here are things that you should do to improve your success.

  1. Eliminate interruptions during study time. No calls, texts, emails, social media—nothing but you and the subjects.
  2. Stop activities that you don’t enjoy and will not add significantly to your college applications.
  3. Allow time to focus on yourself. Taking of 30-60 minutes for your sanity can keep your energy level high and improve your productivity on the elements you find difficult.
  4. Remember to be grateful. It will improve your relationships with teachers, parents and friends. For instance, tell your teachers that you appreciate they are teaching and find it meaningful.
  5. Attend three high school events (sports, music, drama, etc.) and show your support for the people who are participating. It will come back to you on many levels.
  6. Put your hand up at least once a day in a class where participation is invited.
  7. Identify the activity that means the most to you and think of one new way you could contribute or otherwise make an impact within it.
  8. Start making healthy choices.  Ensure that you are eating balanced meals throughout the day, getting at least 8-9 hours of sleep each night, and 30 minutes of physical activity.  Starting to implement these habits now will help you to carry them over to when you are in college.
  9. Remember that sometimes it is better to follow your heart and not the crowd.  It is very easy not only in high school, but college and life beyond to get caught up in what the crowd is doing.  Only go along with the crowd if you feel it is the right thing to do.  If it doesn’t interest you or you feel it won’t help you to be successful then listen to your heart and skip it.
  10. Don’t quit when things get tough.  In life things are bound to happen such as a personal crisis, problem, or frustration.  When things become difficult, remember to advocate for yourself and reach out for help.  Don’t stop coming to class or other activities and notify your instructor/coach/etc. of your problem (in as much detail as you feel comfortable).  Then, make arrangements to make up any missed assignments/work in a timely manner.

 

Financial Information and Scholarship Websites

Financial Information

FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid portal, provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

FAFSA4caster is a college cost forecasting tool that estimates your eligibility for federal student aid.

StudentAid.gov has resources for learning about federal student aid, how to apply using the FAFSA, and get information on repaying student loans.

A video that talks about what to expect when your federal student loan enters repayment.

FinAid! – The SmartStudent Guide to Financial Aid is a free resource for information, advice and tools about student financial aid, college scholarships and education loans.

CSS Profile – the financial aid application service of the College Board (required by some colleges in order to apply for financial aid).

The College Board’s Net Price Calculator allows you to estimate your net price to attend a specific college.

 

Scholarships

SchoolSoup scholarship database

FastWEB scholarship database.

Chegg scholarship database.

CollegeXpress offers college search tools, a scholarship database, lists and rankings, and online articles.

Scholly –  an easy way to find scholarships for high school seniors, current undergraduates, and graduate students.

 

Overcoming Test Anxiety

Test anxiety can be a debilitating and stressful experience. As a student, you may be feeling frustrated by your inability to calm yourself down and put your test preparation to good use. As a parent, you might be feeling at a loss in your abilities to provide helpful advice. Never fear! Test anxiety is something that you can learn to control.

There are two main goals in overcoming test anxiety: Understanding it, and overcoming it.

What is text anxiety?

Anxiety itself is an abnormal sense of fear, nervousness, or apprehension about performing poorly. The difference is that test anxiety occurs only in a testing situation. It may result in difficulty tapping into skills like concentration, attention, and memory.

Anxiety is not grounded in reality; it’s in the head of the test-taker. At its core, anxiety is all about neuroscience. When you experience fear, cortisol knocks out your working memory, making all of that test preparation difficult to access. Your body is ready to spring into action, not to think. This isn’t really helpful if you aren’t trying to fight crime during the SATs or ACTs.

Author Carol Dweck notes an important step in overcoming anxiety as “learning to fulfill your potential.” If you realize that you can learn from the test, you will actually get smarter from taking it. So not only can you beat the test, you can take that information with you!

You have the power to overcome test anxiety!

There are many methods so choose one or multiple methods. Here are some of the most successful techniques:

  • Write It Out: The University of Chicago found that a 10-minute exercise before the exam helped to reduce internal anxieties, and thus, helped students perform better. The students would write about their personal worries, allowing them to “unload” before the actual test.
  • Visualization: Visualize positive and relaxing images and experiences. Envision yourself doing well on the test. Tell yourself daily over the next week that you will be relaxed during the test and that you will get the highest score that you have ever gotten. Practice in your mind, keep calm, and believe in yourself.
  • Get in the Zone: Take some time before your exam to pump yourself up. Maybe you have a song that puts you in a focused mindset. Listen to that song a couple of times before your exam; it will help you gain control of your adrenaline.
  • Treat it like a Game: Test or math anxiety is often immediate and strong. So strong in fact, that some students reported feeling physical pain. The thought of being evaluated and assessed in that way can be challenging to work past, but try treating it more like a game than a test! Pretend you’re trying to solve a puzzle better than a sibling or peer (that’s some good incentive to get it right).
  • Practice Self-Regulation: Spend some time learning how to soothe yourself and keep yourself calm. Begin practicing weeks before the test so you’ll have plenty of time to try out methods of anxiety reduction. Deep breathing can be very effective. Does it help to think of a happy place? To take a sip of water and a breath every time you begin to feel anxious?
  • Simulate the Testing Environment: Some students dislike being surrounded by others in the real test room, so they found it helpful to practice around others. Try taking practice tests in a public space like a library. 
  • Meditation Techniques: Take a few long deep breaths and borrow serenity. Slow breathing actually helps limbic release, so take a few slow breaths, paying attention to your heart rate and filling your lungs entirely with air before an exhale. Take an object such as a rock, a touchstone, which is not powerful until you yourself make it so. Though you might feel silly, using your breath and using your body’s feedback is a helpful way to gain control over your mind.

How parents can help

As a parent, you can be a positive guiding force in your child’s challenges with test anxiety. In addition to the above suggestions, parents can take steps to be coaches in the process. Students can pull others into their anxiety, which can be harmful to everyone. Coach your student to focus on him or herself rather than engaging with others that are anxious.

If all else fails, there are still options to help you or your child succeed. Consider another option of applying to some test optional schools. This helps reduce the anxiety that your score is all important.

You aren’t alone!

We are living in the age of anxiety, in which everyone is worrying about things like the future, with 31% of Americans suffering from some form of anxiety. In fact, test anxiety is actually fairly common. 61% of high school students reported test anxiety, as it tends to surface in high school years. Test anxiety is increasing in both the US and internationally. Interestingly, girls tend to have more anxiety than boys, leading to the discovery of a significant relation to the gender score gap. This form of anxiety is most prevalent in high-stakes tests and gifted students.

The best and final advice: you have more control over your mind and body than you might think, and you have the power to make positive, helpful choices. Let me know if you try any of these methods, and if they work for you.

 

Campus Visit Review

As you drive home from a campus visit take advantage of the drive time to review your experience! Write down your opinions while the experience is still fresh on your mind.

College: _____________________________ City/State:__________________________ Admissions Office Representative:______________________________________________ Tour Guide:__________________________ Email: _____________________________ Campus Visit Date: ___________________

Tour /  Rate each category (5 being best)

Grounds / Setting       Campus Housing       Student Center       Classroom Buildings        Class Size

Library Resources       Size       Energy       People        Athletics       Social Life       Cafeteria / Food

Fitness Center          Student Clubs / Organizations         Career Resources          Other

Impressions:

 

 

If you interview, Interviewer’s name Email:___________________________________________________________

What did I learn about the school:

 

 

Off Campus Life (i.e. music, movies, shopping, restaurants, cafes, art, theater, events)

 

Near campus:

 

City Highlights:

 

Outdoor Activities Nearby:

 

Transportation Options:

OVERALL ASSESSMENT: What I like most:

 

What I like least:

 

Level of academic challenge? Just right   Too difficult  Too easy  Would I feel comfortable here?

Does this school have what I am looking for?

Should I apply to this school? Why:

 

2018-2019 SCHOOLS THAT SUPERSCORE ACT

Superscoring is when colleges consider your highest section scores across all the dates you took the SAT or ACT. Rather than confining your scores to one particular date, these schools will take your highest section scores, forming the highest possible composite score.

Example of Superscoring:

February 2018: English 27, Math 28, Reading 28, Science 28—Composite 27

April 2018: English 27, Math 30, Reading 31, Science 26—Composite 29

July 2018: English 29, Math 27, Reading 29, Science 30—Composite 29

If a student were to submit all three scores, the institutions below would pull the highest subtest scores from each date:

English 29, Math 30, Reading 31, Science 30 – a Composite score of 30

Colleges and Universities

Abilene Christian University (TX)

Adelphi University (NY)

Agnes Scott College (GA)

Albion College (MI)

Albright College (PA)

Alderson Broaddus University (WV)

Allegheny College (PA)

Amherst College (MA)

Antioch College (OH)

Appalachian State University (NC)

Austin College (TX)

Averett University (VA)

Babson College (MA)

Bard College (NY)

Bates College (ME)

Baylor University (TX)

Becker College (MA)

Beloit College (WI)

Bentley University (MA)

Berea College (KY)

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

Boston College (MA)

Bowdoin College (ME)

Brown University (RI)*

Bryant University (RI)

Bucknell University (PA)

Butler University (IN)

California Institute of Technology

California Polytechnic University at Pomona

California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo

California University of Pennsylvania

Central Michigan University

Claremont McKenna College (CA)

Clark University (MA)

Coastal Carolina University (SC)

Colby College (ME)

Colgate University (NY)

College of Charleston (SC)

College of Saint Benedict (MN)

College of the Holy Cross (MA)

College of Wooster (OH)

Colorado State University

Columbia University (NY)

Connecticut College

Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (NY)

Cornell College (IA)

Culinary Institute of America (NY)

Davidson College (NC)

Delaware Valley University (PA)

Denison University (OH)

DePaul University (IL)

DeSales University (PA)

Dickinson College (PA)

Drexel University (PA)

Duke University (NC)*

Duquesne University (PA)

Earlham College (IN)

Eckerd College (FL)

Elmira College (NY)

Elon University (NC)

Emerson College (MA)

Endicott College (MA)

Eugene Lang College of The New School University (NY)

Fairfield University (CT)

Fashion Institute of Technology (NY)

Flagler College (FL)

Florida Institute of Technology

Florida International University

Florida Southern University

Florida State University#

Franklin College (IN)

Franklin and Marshall College (PA)

Furman University (SC)

Gannon University (PA)

George Washington University (DC)

Georgia Institute of Technology#

Gettysburg College (PA)

Gonzaga University (WA)

Gordon College (MA)

Grinnell College (IA)

Grove City College (PA)

Guilford College (NC)

Hamilton College (NY)

Hampden-Sydney College (VA)

Hampton University (VA)

Hanover College (IN)

Harvey Mudd College (CA)

Haverford College (PA)

Hawai’i Pacific University

Hendrix College (AR)

High Point University (NC)

Hobart and William Smith Colleges (NY)

Hofstra University (NY)

Hollins University (VA)

Hood College (MD)

Hunter College of the City University of New York

Illinois Institute of Technology

Indiana State University

Indiana University at Bloomington

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Iona College (NY)

Ithaca College (NY)

James Madison University (VA)

Johns Hopkins University (MD)

Juniata College (PA)

Kalamazoo College (MI)

Kenyon College (OH)

Kettering University (MI)

King’s College (PA)

Knox College (IL)

La Roche College (PA)

La Salle University (PA)

Lafayette College (PA)

Lake Forest College (IL)

Lawrence University (WI)

Lehigh University (PA)

Lemoyne College (NY)

Loyola University of Chicago (IL)

Loyola University of Maryland

Loyola University of New Orleans (LA)

Lycoming College (PA)

Lynn University (FL)

Macalester College (MN)*

Marist College (NY)

Marlboro College (VT)

Mary Baldwin College (VA)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Mercer University (GA)

Merrimack College (MA)

Messiah College (PA)

Miami University of Ohio

Middlebury College (VT)

Monmouth University (NJ)

Montclair State University (NJ)

Mount Holyoke College (MA)

Nazareth College (NY)

New College of Florida

New York University

Niagara University (NY)

North Carolina State University

Northeastern University (MA)

Northern Arizona University

Northwood University

Occidental College (CA)*

Ohio Wesleyan University

Olin College of Engineering (MA)

Parsons School of Design of The New School University (NY)

Pitzer College (CA)

Point Loma Nazarene University (CA)

Pomona College (CA)

Presbyterian College (SC)

Providence College (RI)*

Radford University (VA)

Randolph College (VA)

Randolph-Macon College (VA)

Reed College (OR)*

Robert Morris University (PA)

Rochester Institute of Technology (NY)

Roger Williams University (RI)

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (IN)

Rutgers University Camden (NJ)

Sacred Heart University (CT)

Saint Anselm’s College (NH)

Saint John’s College (MD and NM)

Saint John’s University (NY)

Saint Michael’s College (VT)

Saint Olaf College (MN)

Salve Regina University (RI)

Samford University (AL)

San Diego State University (CA)

Sarah Lawrence College (NY)

Scripps College (CA)

Seton Hall University (NJ)

Shepherd University (WV)

Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

Simmons College (MA)

Soka University of America (CA)

Spelman College (GA)

Stanford University (CA)*

State University of New York College at Geneseo

State University of New York College at Purchase

State University of New York University at Albany

State University of New York University at Buffalo

Stony Brook University (NY)

Susquehanna University (PA)

Swarthmore College (PA)

Syracuse University (NY)

Taylor University (IN)

Temple University (PA)

Texas Christian University

Texas Lutheran University

Texas Tech University

The Citadel (SC)

Trinity College (CT)

Trinity University (TX)

Tufts University (MA)

Union College (KY)

Union College (NY)

United States Air Force Academy (CO)

United States Coast Guard Academy (CT)

United States Merchant Marine Academy (NY)

United States Military Academy (NY)

United States Naval Academy (MD)

University of Arkansas

University of Chicago (IL)

University of Colorado

University of Connecticut

University of Delaware#

University of Denver (CO)

University of Georgia

University of Idaho

University of Illinois*

University of Mary Washington (VA)

University of Maryland Baltimore County

University of Maryland College Park

University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Miami (FL)

University of Michigan*

University of New England (ME)

University of New Haven (CT)

University of New Mexico

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

University of North Carolina Charlotte

University of North Carolina Greensboro

University of North Florida

University of Pennsylvania

University of Portland (OR)

University of Puget Sound (WA)

University of Rhode Island

University of Rochester (NY)

University of Saint Thomas (MN)

University of South Florida

University of Tampa (FL)

University of Tennessee

University of the South (Sewanee) (TN)

University of Tulsa (OK)

University of Virginia

University of Washington

Ursinus College (PA)

Valparaiso University (IN)

Vassar College (NY)

Villanova University (PA)

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)

Wabash College (IN)

Wagner College (NY)

Wake Forest University (NC)

Warren Wilson College (NC)

Washington and Jefferson College (PA)

Washington State University

Washington University in Saint Louis (MO)

Webb Institute (of Naval Architecture) (NY)

Wesleyan University (CT)

West Virginia University

Western New England College (MA)

Westmont College (CA)

Wheaton College (IL)

Wheeling Jesuit College (WV)

Whitman College (WA)

Willamette University (OR)

William Paterson University of New Jersey

Williams College (MA)

Winthrop University (SC)

Wofford College (SC)

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (MA)

Xavier University (OH)

*– indicates that college does not recompute composite but will consider all subscores from any test dates sent

 

#– indicates that college will super-duper score, combining best subscores from BOTH SAT AND ACT submitted (we really love these schools)

5 Important Elements Colleges Look For

  1. High Grades. Grades are a sign of intellect and effort, and the best indication of how you will perform in college. College admissions wants you to take the hardest classes that you can that you will get at least a B in. Focus on your grades and work with your teachers.
  2. Taking the most rigorous curriculum that you can while still getting high grades. AP’s, Honors, College Classes, IB if available. Colleges consider your options and want you to  challenge yourself and be successful. Here is an article on choosing the right classes.
  3. Standardized Test Scores. Many colleges consider these, but some colleges are test optional. There are choices you should consider before you start this process. Is the ACT or the SAT right for you? When should you take the standardized tests? How should you prepare for each test to be successful in the college process? Testing information.
  4. Write an Essay in senior year that strikes a chord with the admissions representatives. What do we need to tell colleges to make you the kind of candidate that they want? College essays should be very personal, thoughtful and demonstrate your background, values, goals, or an achievement. Here is an article on writing a memorable college essay.
  5. Your Demonstrated Interest in the institution. You need to show that this is a college that you are very interested in, not just one on your list which is a back-up school. Many college admissions offices track every contact you have with them. How to demonstrate interest.

The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) annually surveys member colleges and universities. Here are the latest survey results for what colleges say is important:

  • Grades in college prep courses: 79.2%
  • Grades in all courses: 60.3%
  • Strength of curriculum: 60.2%
  • Admission test scores: 55.7%
  • Essay or writing sample: 22.1%
  • Student’s demonstrated interest: 16.9%
  • Counselor recommendations: 17.3%
  • Class rank: 14.0%
  • Teacher recommendation: 15.2%
  • Subject test scores (AP/IB): 7.0%
  • Portfolio: 6.6%
  • Interview: 3.5%
  • SAT II scores: 5.3%
  • Extracurricular activities: 5.6%