by Neil Chyten / Article#1648
While earning high grades and having the fortitude to choose academically challenging courses remain the most important factors, a combination of activities and proof of belonging have become more important than ever.
We can all feel it—those sands of time that are shifting under our feet. What has been a steady, reliable, and predictable foundation of the college admission landscape for a generation is suddenly erupting into a swirling and seemingly ever-changing maelstrom of guesswork, overcompensation, and desperate searching for the golden ring that will magically make up for all the lost opportunities that now litter the road to college like burned out vehicles in a war zone.
Take, for example, standardized tests: did we ever think we would lament the loss of a whole group of single subject tests of which we could never seem to have enough to prove our academic prowess, stamina, and appetite for self-inflicted pain? Did we ever stop to consider that nature hates a vacuum, and ponder what would rush in to replace these now defunct SAT Subject Tests?
For all the loathing heaped upon the SAT and ACT, did we ever consider the expression: “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer?” Did we ever consider the position of college admission committees whose charge is to identify the most attractive candidates based on their ability to compete academically and contribute to the aura, prestige, and reputation of the college? Did we think how the loss of certain numerical factors would require college admission departments to develop an entirely new algorithm made up of a whole new generation of subcategories?
For colleges that found it expedient to gauge a candidate’s demonstrated interest in their institutions, we must ask ourselves what is left that can help us catch the eye of admission officials, and prove to them our unmitigated intention to attend their institution if accepted? If anything, the loss of relatively objective admission factors has made the process even more difficult and daunting. After all, it is one thing to study for a few months to take the SAT and quite another to dedicate months to finding a prestigious internship followed by an entire summer to earn a recommendation. With all of these things in mind, here is the list of the five most important factors in college admission in 2022.
#1: Grades in college level courses.
#2: Academic rigor.
#3: A consistent set of activities that not only identifies but proves an authentic passion.
#4: Teacher and counselor recommendations.
#5: Verifiable proof that one belongs in the institution to which they are applying.
While earning high grades and having the fortitude to choose academically challenging courses remain the most important factors, a combination of activities and proof of belonging have become more important than ever. When you don’t have test scores to support your candidacy, you must have strength in other areas to compensate. Since, ultimately, colleges seek to identify candidates that will make them proud and bring recognition to their campuses, you must be able to prove your mettle through the choices you make both inside and outside of the classroom.
Therefore, you should choose your activities wisely and do everything possible in your classes to earn stellar recommendations. Through the activities that you choose, you should demonstrate passion and a willingness to stick with those activities that you deem important for your future. This is quite different from the application padding that far too many well-intentioned families engage in. In general, it is best to find and feed your passion as consistently and voraciously as you feed your hunger.