Are good grades the only key to college admissions?
If you were asked how best to prepare your child for
college, you might say that a well-rounded high school
curriculum would be a good start. It may be true that
your child needs to be a good student to compete for
admission to a college or university. Today, however,
getting into college and graduating are two distinct
Admissions: Increasing the odds
Each college and university has admission guidelines
that are followed when applications are reviewed.
Naturally, the first items most likely to be examined are
your child’s high school academic record and SAT or
ACT scores. However, academics are not the only
items that catch the eye of an admissions officer.
Sometimes acceptance to a school depends on the
applicant’s participation in extracurricular activities and
his or her civic involvement. Many admissions
committees are as interested in grades as they are in
the quality and character of individuals who may attend
their college or university. Therefore, it is important for
your child to include a résumé of achievements,
interests, and volunteer efforts with his or her
Any of the following may enhance your child’s
Awards demonstrate formal recognition of an
applicant’s ability to excel in a particular area.
Sports participation demonstrates an applicant’s
competitive spirit and winning attitude, along with
the ability to be a team player.
Extracurricular activities highlight an applicant’s
enthusiasm, leadership qualities, and specific
Volunteering or religious involvement can often
indicate that an applicant is active in the
community and possesses moral character and
Political activity can demonstrate an applicant’s
strong leadership skills and awareness of current
Work experience may indicate motivation,
responsibility, and a strong work ethic.
Hobbies and special interests can provide a better
understanding of who the applicant is, in addition
to highlighting areas of knowledge.
Building the foundation for long-term success
Many children today are exposed to an array of social
pressures that may be unfamiliar to most adults. So
parents and other role models may need to work
harder to set positive examples and instill good values,
in addition to teaching respect for others and
emphasizing overall common sense.
Besides making the grade academically, a candidate
for college needs to demonstrate a good attitude.
Parents can help children recognize the value of
learning and how education is often linked to future
success. Learning to make sound choices is equally
important. Being an individual rather than a follower
isn’t always easy, however, and your college-age
children need ongoing encouragement to continually
examine themselves and strive to reach their goals.
Although you hope your child will use sound judgment
while navigating the maze of activities associated with
college life, remember that maturing is a process, and
there may be mistakes made along the way. The key is
to encourage your child to learn from those mistakes,
rather than keep repeating them. If you, as parents,
and other role models can provide emotional support,
encouragement, and guidance during these difficult
years, the chances of your child transitioning smoothly
to adulthood will be greatly enhanced.
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