Factors Affecting the Admission Decisions of the Universities in the US
As education becomes an industry all over the world, students face the problem of identifying what is actually the criteria admissions are based on. Not only are students competing with other students from their home country but also with other countries. Understanding the basis of the competition is absolutely necessary. Admission isn’t just guaranteed on SAT score or high grades. There are a number of factors that go into your admissions decision.
Here’s a list of factors in admissions decisions. These factors have been compiled based on FES’s years of experience dealing with students.
- Challenging high school curriculum:
Universities consider the number of difficult or challenging courses the student has studied. They search for students who take advantage of what was offered to them, students that are selective in their courses and study courses which challenge their limits. This shows them students that are interested in building a career, students with future ambitions, etc.
- Strong grades, especially in school:
Colleges and universities look for a consistent, preferably upward trend in your grades. Consistency shows them at which level you operate on a daily basis. If your grades are consistently high throughout most of the subjects, then it can be assumed you are a high achieving student. If you started off with average grades and ended at a high then it shows growth in your capacity as a person. This is why your grades matter a lot. To get your foot into the door of the best universities in the world you need to work hard. Sometimes your grades can help you attain particular scholarships. If you are applying for Masters then the CGPA of your Bachelor’s degree will decide your future. Some students study very effectively on their own and others may need occasional or consistent support to do well in their more difficult classes and on standardised tests.
- High test scores on the SAT/ACT/GRE/GMAT:
In addition to grades, many schools look for strong scores for the standardised testing. A lot of these tests help determine your overall problem solving abilities. Verbal, mathematical, and logical problems. These tests make it easier for students to know how to prepare and make it easier for universities to know where the student stands. Since you do not know what your college list will be, it is best to prepare by taking two SAT Subject Tests following the completion of relevant coursework.
- Meaningful involvement in extracurricular activities:
Quality, not quantity, is most important when it comes to demonstrating any form of leadership. Volunteer programs around your university or school will enhance your profile a lot. This adds value to your profile and makes you a viable candidate for admissions. Activities such as student council members and other initiatives are good places to start. YOu need to make sure you do activities which not only add value to your profile but also your overall learning experience. This will bring you leverage in the admissions interview, essay writing and other aspects of the admissions process.
- Well-conceived and well-written essays:
Personal essays or motivational statements are different from the essays you write during your coursework in school. The university prompts and topics for essays are usually so generic and open-ended it is usually difficult to judge what is the best approach to write a comprehensive essay for admissions. Strong reflective writing provides admissions readers with insights into the student’s unique personality, values and aspirations. You can help yourself immensely if you simply master the art of writing a good quality letter of motivation or personal statement or essay.
- A well-integrated application and strong, cohesive student profile:
Your application needs to be strong and a strong application is a clear one. Something that makes sense, something that is easy to understand. Unexplained gaps in education, gaps in work experience, or unexplained gap years need to be addressed. If you are working on two jobs at the same time then you need to make it clear how you managed to do that, is one a freelancing project or is it a part-time job. You need to make it all clear. Make sure your application makes sense and is clear from day one.
- Strong letters of recommendation from academic subject teachers and school guidance counsellors:
Letters of recommendation should be strong and clear. They show your character and have it endorsed by an authoritative figure i.e. your teacher or boss. This is why strong recommendation letters are something you should absolutely work on. Letters should show concrete representation of a student’s unique skills and positive character traits in their school or job. Your behaviour and skills exhibited in the classroom or office or team will create a good impression and help distinguish you in the eyes of admissions. Students can create a great deal of strength in this part of their application, if they have sound advice and educate themselves on how to take the initiative early enough to have these essays well written. Strong letters of recommendation do impact admission results.
- Interviews that support the student’s strength and good character:
Interview preparation can help your admissions. A lot of the time universities will interview you and ask you about your personal motivations, future goals, ambitions and the reasoning behind your application to that particular university. Positive and fun preparation that helps each student feel more confident and ready for interviews.