Every year when school begins and seniors start finalizing their college lists, families often ask what matters most to colleges when reviewing students’ applications. Is it grades? SAT scores? Extracurricular leadership? The truth is that all of these factors do have value in the admission process at many colleges, but some pieces of the application are more influential than others.
As we might expect, the rigor of a student’s transcript and grades are at the top of the list. Standardized test scores are also near the top of the table, but we should keep in mind that there is a growing list of test-optional colleges that do not require SAT/ACT scores. What might come as a surprise is that extracurricular activities are listed at the bottom; the college interview is also not highly ranked. It is important to remember that most colleges practice a holistic review of applications, taking into consideration all factors.
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