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Understanding requirements for college admission

Much debate has ensued over college admission requirements, fueled by parental fear stemming from the vagueness surrounding the subject and unattended cries of injustice against the apparently mystical discretion of admission boards.

However, meeting this problem with unnecessary worry can hamper judgment and cause one to bring forth insufficiency amount of requisite action. The mantra here is to research well, prepare hard, and most importantly ‘begin early’ so one has enough time to perform the former two with ease.

While academics have traditionally remained the foremost criteria for college admission, rising competition and colleges’ understanding of ideal students have brought other factors into considerable play, and their importance must not be underestimated.

As per understanding of experts observing admission trends for years, following are the major considerations that one needs to keep in mind:

Academic Ability and Aptitude

Colleges need to ensure that the candidates they select are capable of taking on the increased load of academics that their curricula present. For this, they need to check on students' past educational performance and also at times, their scores in certain aptitude tests that test their ability for the course. This criteria still remains ahead of the rest in the selection process, and rightly so. Parents need to ensure that their kids remain on track with studies and have to find ways of generating excitement and interest in them toward education. The earlier the foundation for this has been laid, the easier would be the journey ahead for both.

Reputation of High School

Schools have a responsibility of presenting students with the right kind of education and opportunities that would ensure their overall development and colleges find it important to check up on how well their applicant's school performs that task. Reputation of the school can matter for some schools are better known to produce more holistically developed pass-outs than others. These pass-outs would obviously retain favor. Needless to say, parents need to pay special attention while selecting their child's school. Even if the school is not yet of particular repute yet, parents must ensure that it should at least be able to provide all the important courses and that their wards attend those.

Involvement with Extracurriculars

Sports, debates, arts, various clubs, etc build character - qualities such as integrity, leadership, respect and teamwork. A student who bring along these qualities to college and later on to work, would be an asset to both, the educational institute as well as office, and colleges are eager to attract such students. This is why they check up on students’ extracurricular involvement to ensure that they have gone through the process of developing these qualities and demonstrated them. Colleges would like their students to take advantage of such opportunities provided by them, and excel at the same, taking the name of the college forward. Since a young age, children should be encouraged to chase opportunities at their disposal and excel at more than just academics.

Volunteer Activities

Unselfish value addition to society has since always been considered a noble characteristic. Accordingly, colleges give special consideration to students who have gone out of their way by committing time and effort, to help others, and have gained formal recognition for the same through organizations.

Additional Factors

Factors such as minority status, relation to alumnus, recommendation, essays/statements, etc may be considered as well, depending on the college in question. A thorough research of the college admission process must be conducted to find out about the same.

To a college, an ideal candidate is one who has achieved holistic development, evident through his/her performance or education undertaken – those who have demonstrated their ability to add value in the future to the college, and to society in general. They essentially search among applicants for great alumni.