Every high school student applying for their college admissions wonders, "what looks really good on a college application?"

Students often think that colleges only require a straight-A, well-behaved, multilingual student to enroll in their institution.

The truth is, every college has different criteria when looking for new students. However, most of the colleges look at a few key elements when reviewing college applications.

College applications offer a great chance to make an excellent first impression on an institution. However, you should not ignore the competition from other students and work hard for your applications to stay ahead in the race.

And if you have graduated high school and are currently working on your college applications, you will need an expert's help to get the process right.

Keep reading as we delve into what colleges look for in a student's admission application and help you secure a spot at your first-choice college.

Three students lifting their graduation caps outside a high school
Most high school students cannot write good college essays that hinder them from getting admitted to their favorite colleges. This is usually due to a lack of knowledge in good writing skills. Writing an essay portrays a student's creativity, which increases their chances of acceptance. Therefore, it is essential to learn how to write a really good college application before applying for any college (Source: Unsplash)
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A Brief Summary Of Your Academic Background

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Students often feel overwhelmed and nervous when appearing for SAT examinations to get approved for college admissions. Remember, a good SAT score increases the chances of being accepted by a known college. Learn what looks really good on a college application to increases your chances of being accepted by your desired college (Source: Unsplash)

The first and most important thing colleges look at is the academic background of an applying student.

When writing a college application, make sure you include all the necessary background about your academic history.

For example, you must tell them what middle school you went to, what high school you joined, and any extra-credit courses you may have taken.

Moreover, if you have ever shifted schools, make sure you include that as well. It is not essential to include the reason; talk about it only if an interviewer asks.

Lastly, your academic GPA and test grades play a significant role in your college applications.

GPA (Grade Point Average)

If you want to improve your GPA, you must work hard during your school years. Your GPA is the most influential factor that your favorite college will consider.

If you are still in high school and have already started working on your college applications, this is a great time to opt for AP classes.

AP courses are very challenging, and if you score well in them, it will boost your average GPA and put a great impression on any college you apply to.

AP classes are pretty challenging, and any student who opts for them demonstrates an interest in pushing themselves and learning.

Therefore, taking AP classes in the subjects you would like to study in college is a great option. For example, if you want to apply for programming in college, make sure you take AP classes in Computer Science and Coding.

Test Grades

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It is vital to maintain good grades to reflect your dedication towards studies. Sign up with the National Honor Society to enhance your academic results and get admitted to your dream college. Do your research and understand the National Honor Society requirements to become a member (Source: Unsplash)

Most colleges require candidates to pass entrance tests to gain admission. For example, some colleges require good scores on an SAT exam, while some require the same in a GRE or ACT.

For first-timers, these tests can be a challenge. Therefore, make sure you start practicing for them right from the beginning of your high school years.

Take practice ACT or SATs to see where you stand. You can even take classes that can help you prepare for these examinations.

Scoring well in these tests will prove your intelligence and readiness to move to the next level. Moreover, it will also grant you the opportunity to earn scholarships and other college credits.

A Well-Written College Essay

Most people think that college essays are just an optional part that most colleges do not pay attention to.

This misconception stems from the notion that interviewers solely focus on academic grades, ignoring the massive impact of a college essay on their admission.

Consequently, they feel perplexed and disheartened when they get rejected from a college, wondering what they did wrong.

It should not be ignored that college essays play a massive role in your college applications since it is the only way a student can express their personality.

College essays offer you the opportunity to include things that you could not talk about in other areas of your application.

Therefore, make sure your essay is thoughtful and your personality shines through. Remember, it is not necessary to write about your adolescence and what challenges you faced in life.

Your college essay must tell a story of your life. It should talk about your aims, values, goals in life, and how you want to grow personally.

Furthermore, it should be well written and well-polished. And most importantly, make sure you proofread everything before submitting it.

You can even get a family member or a friend to read it for you.

A Brief Review Of Your Extra-Curricular Activities

Extra-curricular activities are vital to get into college since they show how driven and passionate you are. They might look like hobbies, but they play a crucial role in your academic life ahead.

These activities portray a broader aspect of your life and characteristics that represent a positive image of your entire personality.

This positive image can include the ability to:

  • Accept challenges
  • Learn new and exciting things
  • Participate in college competitions like sports, music
  • Work with other students as a team

These activities also show that you are involved in things beyond academics and are passionate about your field of interest. This can also give an impression that you are a well-rounded and multi-talented student.

What looks good on a college application for activities? You don't necessarily need to include every nitty-gritty detail of your extra-curricular activities.

Just provide information that offers a bigger picture of your hobbies and interests. And if you are having trouble deciding which ones to include in your college application, add the best activities you have taken part in so far.

Aim for quality over quantity. If you include several activities that do not portray a unique character, it will not convince colleges that you are an interesting student.

Writing about your commitment to a few activities that portray your interests is just enough to impress any college you apply to.

Without further ado, here is a list of some of the activities you can include in your college applications:

Internships You Take Part In

If you have taken part in an internship related to your field during your high school years, you have an excellent opportunity to impress colleges into accepting you!

Your internships reflect your experience in a specific field. It shows your willingness to learn how things work in your particular area.

For example, journalism students can intern at a local news channel in the writing or reporting department.

This could be just enough to show that you have already gained some experience in the specific field. Second, internships will help you understand things better during your college years.

This is one of the most important things colleges look at: 'The ability to understand complex theories and applying them in the practical world.'

Your internships prove your dedication to your field and show that you have some professional hands-on experience.

If you have not taken part in an internship, don't worry. It's not like they are a necessary prerequisite to get into college.

It is just a factor that could enhance your application and make it stand out even more. If you are still in high school, you can apply for a small internship as well.

Activities That Reflect Your Creativity

While it is essential to include your internship experience, adding creative activities to your application that show a wide range of your interests can be very beneficial.

For example, if you have been a part of any performing art society or any art club, you should go ahead and mention it in your college application.

Moreover, if you have a unique skill like playing a musical instrument, you can include that. These skills will have you enrolling in the music club or chess club – all fraternities that strengthen your claim.

These activities show your curiosity and willingness to take part in creative activities arranged by the college itself.

Activities That Show Your Technological Interests

Most colleges usually expect students to have a basic skill set. This can include:

  • Basic knowledge of how software works
  • The ability to do online research and write well

Having technological skills and interests is a unique aspect that colleges do not expect every single applicant to possess.

Therefore, technological skills can make you stand out because they show that you put the time and effort into learning something difficult.

If you are looking to pursue a degree in computer science or programming, having technological skills can be a plus point.

It also shows that you can learn new and challenging things and are willing to participate in such activities arranged by the college.

How Does The National Honor Society Impact Your College Application?

National Honor Society plays a huge role in your college applications. If you are confused and wondering, "What is the national honor society?" let's make it simple for you:

The main aim of this society is to enhance a student's performance in leadership, academics, and community engagement.

The NHS offers exceptional benefits to high school students applying for college applications. However, like when applying to another institution, becoming a member of NHS has a few key elements to consider.

These National honor society requirements include 15 annual community service hours and a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Prepare For Your Choice Of College With An Expert

Whether you're trying to improve your computer programming skills or prepare for your SATs, you can always find a private tutor in your area with the right platform.

Enter, Superprof! Superprof is one such platform that links teachers to students and vice-versa. Use it to find yourself a tutor in your area and with a possibly free first session.

Using this tremendous resource, you can brush up over the summer and head into your applications with the confidence to succeed.

Sign up today, enter your preferences, and look for an instructor who shares your penchant for success!

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