Quite frankly it can be downright scary trying to navigate the process without knowing exactly what college admissions officers are really looking for. Preparing to apply for college with these 7 essential factors in mind, can help demystify the entire process and give your student a greater chance to succeed in receiving acceptance into the school of their choice.

Grade Point Average (GPA) is one of the top factors considered in the college admissions process. There are two grading systems a school may consider: Unweighted and Weighted.

Another key factor considered in college admissions is course load. College admissions officials are really evaluating whether your student has taken challenging courses in high school and excelled.

Your student’s essay and personal statement can be a major determining factor in their acceptance into college.  This area of the application gives the student a voice in the process and should receive careful attention.

SAT and ACT are objective college entrance exams and assess overall academic fitness for college.  Colleges award acceptance and merit-based scholarships based on these scores.

Extra-curricular activities are important qualifiers in the admissions process. Colleges are looking for students that demonstrate involvement in activities that relate to the student’s stated goals and interests.

Many colleges require recommendation letters from teachers, counselors and/or those who can attest to your student’s academic competency and character.

Some schools require an interview as part of the admissions process. Giving an enthusiastic interview can make a great impression and shows admissions officers your student genuinely wants to attend their school.