The Two Most Important College-Admissions Criteria Now Mean Less
For generations, two numbers have signaled whether a student could hope to get into a top college: his or her standardized test score and his or her grade-point average.
In the past 15 years, though, these lodestars have come to mean less and less. The SAT has been redesigned twice in that time, making it difficult for admissions officers to assess, for instance, whether last year’s uptick in average scores was the result of better students or just a different test. What’s more, half of American teenagers now graduate high school with an A average, according to a recent study. With application numbers at record highs, highly selective colleges are forced to make impossible choices, assigning a fixed number of slots to a growing pool of students who, each year, are harder to differentiate using these two long-standing metrics. READ MORE
WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING NOW:
if you haven’t made arrangements already, be sure to contact the housing departments at the college to which you deposited. Housing is first come first served!
If you are on a wait list make sure you deposit by May 1st to a college where you have already been accepted! Getting off a wait list is never guaranteed and it may not happen until late in the summer.
Take time to thank all your teachers and mentors in your life. You didn’t achieve your success without the support of others and it is nice to feel appreciated.
Avoid SENIORITIS! If your grades drop too far, colleges will rescind your admission.
“I wish I had been more thoughtful in my freshman year of college. I tried to take on too many things instead of sitting back, observing what was in front of me and then being intentional about things. I spent too much time being social and my grades suffered. Everything fell into place when I just trusted myself. Balance is the key.”
WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING NOW
- Finish strong! These semester grades are the most important yet.
- Get to know your college counselor – they are your most important advocate in this process.
- Register for Subject Tests in May or June
- Visit colleges and research your major on a deeper level
- Finalize summer plans
- Look for ways to be impactful within your activities and interests
Tips for Composing Your College Admissions Resume
1. Keep it concise.
Pare down the activities you showcase to the most brag-worthy and most representative of you as a candidate. Do colleges need to know that you were on the field hockey team for one semester in Grade 9? Probably not. The standard rule of thumb is to stick to one or two pages.
2. Focus on depth and length of commitment.
When deciding which activities and accomplishments make the cut, keep in mind that colleges would much rather see you excited about one or two key experiences than sporadic involvement in 20 clubs. If having an after-school job limited your ability to participate in clubs or sports, make sure your resume plays up your work responsibilities, training, and on-the-job skills.
3. Provide detail whenever possible.
The details are what set a resume apart from a list of extracurriculars on a standard college application. For example, when describing your involvement in the French Club make sure to include:
- your role
- school years/hours per week you participated
- specific contributions (e.g. “Organized a successful after-school film series to introduce our community to French cinema and culture” )
- leadership roles (e.g. “Treasurer, Grade 12” )
- unique details that will make you stand out
4. Highlight things you weren’t able to write about in your college essays or short answers.
Use your high school resume to show colleges something new. If your devotion to photography didn’t make it on the application but is a big part of who you are, then showcase your photography cred on your resume.
5. Formatting is key.
Make your resume easy to scan. Divide information into sections with clear headings, bulleted lists, and a consistent font. Use a system of organization that works for you. (Chronological, by importance of activity, or by time commitment are a few options.) Don’t forget to proofread !
6. Be honest and accurate.
Colleges know how to spot inconsistencies in your application materials, and they won’t hesitate to call your counselor to verify information that doesn’t seem right. So don’t tell them that you have practice for the school play for 30 hours per week—unless drama club is somehow your full-time job!