What do colleges really look at for Funding and admittance?

What do colleges really look at for Funding and admittance?

What do colleges really look at for Funding and admittance?

This is one of the most important topics all the parents talk with me about, before and after one of my workshops.  As we are beginning, a new school year I think is very important for your students to begin to understand how their high school resumé should look like, so they can stand out to the colleges of their choice. This information will be extremely useful to the freshman and sophomores.

During my workshop. I address this topic starting out by simplifying it down to 3 lists that every student when applies for college are added too, depending on where the students fit into their plans for their freshman class.  I know that this is a very simplistic view of the process. But it helps us to understand what our students need to do to get admitted to the school of their choice and have them pay to attend.  And they are:

  1. I love you.
  2. I like you.
  3. I need bodies.

Let’s take these lists and look at them one at a time.

The I love you list (1) is made up of the most highly attractive students. You need to know that they are projecting out that freshman class and they have a mix that they are striving to achieve. And they look at and judge each student according to their achievements.

The most highly attractive students are not only offered admission, they are typically offered the most lucrative funding packages to entice their attendance.

The I like you list (2) is made up of the students that they will admit, but not necessarily want to give as much money to.

The last list, I need bodies (3) is made up of the students there are at the bottom of the acceptable numbers. And these people a lot of time will pay, the total cost of attendance. Every college needs some of these people to attend so that they can offer the money to those that made the I love you list and I like you list.

Here is a listing of what institutions typically consider when reviewing a student’s application for admission:

  1. SAT and/or ACT results are considered by nearly every college or university because they provide standardized scores from a uniform test for all students.  The tests are designed to measure the student’s aptitude for college-level work by testing math and linguistic skills.  In theory, these tests level the playing field between students, no matter where they may have attended high school.  Taking the SAT and/or ACT more than once is recommended.  Your highest score is almost always the only one reported and students generally score better the second time.  Helpful Tip – don’t wait until the last minute to test.


  1. Courses taken and grades received are one of the first things a college admission officer will look at when considering your eligibility for admission.  The basic college-preparatory curriculum is made up of five CORE subjects.  They are English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Foreign Language.  Most colleges want to see the student take four years of the first four courses and at least two years of a foreign language.

Beyond ensuring that a student has taken the CORE courses, colleges look for those who have challenged themselves academically.  Advanced Placement (Honors) courses are an excellent way to demonstrate your academic strengths.  A side benefit of these courses is the potential to earn college credit that may transfer to your chosen college or university.  If Advanced Placement Courses are available at your high school and you are capable of taking them, it will be of great benefit for you to do so.

  1. Strength of your high school and its curriculum are also considered when deciding whether or not to offer you admission.  An Admissions Officer may check to see how students from your school have fared at their institution in the past.


  1. High school and community activities are also reviewed and evaluated by the Admissions Officer.  The students who challenge themselves, work hard, and show leadership by participating both in high school activities and community activities are most often the more attractive candidates.  Helpful Tip – when you do join clubs and organizations, don’t just be a member, be an active participant!  It is far better to be active in two or three activities than to be a member of ten or twelve activities and do nothing.

Please remember that every college is a little bit different and that each college may place an emphasis on anyone of listings.  But these are the are the components that most colleges use in determining what their most attractive student is. Therefore, it is helpful to get a feel of the college look for.

By using this information, especially as a freshman and sophomore it should be extremely helpful for you to get into the college of your choice and have the college pay for you to do so.

I hope that you have found this information useful for your students.

Marty McCain

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