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Criteria for College Admission

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Primarily Considerations​​

  • Student GPA (grade point average) 

A high GPA indicates to colleges that a student is responsible and has the ability to master academic material. It is important to keep in mind with grade inflation the average GPA at the strongest schools in this country is an A- average. 


  • Standardized Test scores 

Whereas average GPA has risen from a 3.2 to a 3.73 over the last 20 years, standardized test scores have remained constant.  Given the preponderance of students with all As, and the various rigor of different schools, colleges admissions officers are overwhelmed with A students. Standardized test scores enable colleges to compare students’ developed abilities on a test purported to measure academic acumen.  


“Standardized test scores are a much better predictor of academic success than high school grades,” Christina Paxson, the president of Brown University, recently wrote

Stuart Schmill — the dean of admissions at M.I.T., one of the few schools to have reinstated its test requirement “Just getting straight A’s is not enough information for us to know whether the students are going to succeed or not.”

  • Rigor of Classes

Colleges want to know that students are willing to challenge themselves. Class rigor demonstrates curiosity and tenacity - two elements that are predictive of college success.  


Other Considerations 

  • Student Essays

Be authentic, humble, funny and earnest. Tell your story. Include appreciation of others. Don’t say "I" a million times. Let them see your vision of the world and come to see how great you are without you saying it. Be the person they want to sit next to in the dining hall.  


  • Teacher Recommendations 

Find a teacher you connect with. Get to them early so they have plenty of time to write a thoughtful recommendations without being pressured.

  • Counselor Recommendations 

You can help your counselor with this by providing a detailed personalized account of your child for the counselor to use to help flesh out their recommendation. (You will get a form to fill out from you counselor on which you can write about your child - make it count)


  • Extracurriculars

Sports, music, drama, dance, art, photography, or any of an assortment of clubs. Your activities demonstrate your passion for being involved. Your willingness to develop a skill and work with others.    


  • Leadership Positions 

Positions of leadership such as elected captains or class officers demonstrate your commitment to a team, a cause, or just your school in general. Those positions are also indicative of how others see you.  


  • Activities Outside of School  

These activities can demonstrate your curiosity and interest in a particular discipline, a commitment to the community, a social interest, or a need to maximize personal growth that a school doesn't provide.  


  • Student Employment 

Jobs demonstrate a sense of responsibility.

  • Demonstrated Interest

Demonstrated interest indicates a strong feeling for the school to which you are applying.  Everyone (including schools) love to be loved.   

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