American Experience | 体验美国

Nadia Goes To College: Grades + Activities + Recommendations = College

November 25, 2013 4:00 am | By Nadia

How amazing is it that everything is done technologically now? The college application process is now impossible without a computer. (The fact that you’re on the site is enough proof!)

The reason why I started off the blog talking about technology is because I just finished and submitted my college resume online. I’ve registered for about 3 required different sites (my school makes it mandatory to actively log on to these sites), and they all mentioned some of the same information. Yet, along with the redundancy, each site has its own fresh information that the others lacked. That just goes to show how much you have to dig for information about colleges, (luckily for you, this site puts all the information you need together nicely, so you don’t have to jump from site to site like I did. All you need is IntroAmerica and you’re good to go!)

Anyway, I felt like I was typing up the same old information over and over again. Question after question I thought “I’ve answered this question before already!”

It was the same formula no matter how they asked it, so I decided to give you readers a breakdown of what most colleges 100% of the time look for in an application.

From my experiences on these sites, I’ve noticed that there are 3 main things that the colleges are always on the eye out for:
• The obvious: Grades
• The ‘not always emphasized but just as important’: extracurricular activities (Talents, Skills, Jobs, Passions, Hobbies)
• Recommendations and Essays. (How well can you market yourself?)

Essentially, they’re looking for the easiest ways to answer these questions:
• Are you successful as a student?
• What do you do outside of school?
• What do others have to say about you?

There’s no doubt that colleges know they’re looking at an application for a person, someone who has hobbies, talents, and skills that grades can never reflect. In fact, recently a Columbia University Admission officer (who visited my school), mentioned that most admission officers look for someone they feel can offer something outside of academics to the school. Maybe you can play an instrument? Maybe you’re a great poet? Do you know any other languages? These are questions that really get colleges excited.

Grades are important, but they’re not the factor that will make you or break you. Activities are important, but unless you’re an Olympic gymnast chances are there is not guarantee on acceptance based solely on just activities. Recommendations are necessary, but they don’t become the deciding section unless considering the other two elements. It’s a balance of all three, they all lean on each other.

And sometimes, it’s all subjective based on the college.

But the point is, these are the 3 things to keep in mind; you’ve already given the colleges more information as to who you are, and that’s what they want. What you lack in one you can make up in the other. The main point I can’t emphasize enough: grades, activities, and recommendations/essays are most important relative to one another.

Don’t stress it, keep in mind that these are actual people grading your application; they know that humans aren’t perfect.