by Ashley McCarrick

Now that you understand how test scores and other academic factors weigh into the college admissions process, here are the top 6 non-academic college admissions factors:

1. Extracurricular Activities

What have you done with your time outside of school? What are you passionate about? Being an active member of a club or holding a leadership position shows that you are more than just a student. Find extracurricular activities you love and get involved!

2. Personal Achievements

Do you have a talent or an award you’d like to brag about? Think about how you are unique from other college applicants and include it on your college application. This could be anything from winning a math competition to being the state ping-pong champion!

3. Recommendations

Ask your teachers and counselor if they are willing and able to put in a good word for you. Not all colleges require recommendation letters, but if your college application calls for one or two, ask those who are familiar with your accomplishments, character and work ethic to talk you up to the college admissions committee. It is much better to get letters from people who really know you than to seek out alumni who can’t tell your story.

4. Interviews

Do you get the jitters when you talk to a college admissions rep? Believe it or not, colleges document all forms of contact you have with them, whether it’s visiting campus, e-mailing your college admissions officer, or attending college night at your high school. Formal interviews may also be conducted, but try not to stress too much about them. Just be yourself and reveal your genuine desire to go to that particular college.

5. Application Essays

What can you talk about in 500 words that the college admissions officers can’t get from your application? This is your chance to shine and illustrate your personality, aspirations, or anything else you want them to know about you.

6. Show Interest

Why do you want to attend this particular college? College admissions officers would much rather accept a student who is enthusiastic about their school than one who is applying “just because.” It’s never too early to show interest in your dream college, so start visiting as soon as you have an idea of where you want to go.

Ultimately, what you decide to put on your college application is in YOUR hands. The college admissions process is about finding the right college for you – one where you will succeed, be happy, and gain the knowledge you need for your brightest future.

Ashley McCarrick is an Executive Director at KD College Prep. She has been serving KD students since 2007 and enjoys helping teenagers discover their dreams. In her free time, Ashley delights in spending time with her daughter, Lilley, and volunteering with various local organizations. You may contact her at a.mccarrick@kdcollegeprep.com.