Top Ten Factors Influencing College Admissions

Doing College helps students cultivate the top factors that influence college admission decisions:

1. Challenging high school curriculum. Colleges and universities take into account the number and quality of courses offered in the high school environment. They look for students who take advantage of what is offered, and highly selective colleges look for those who go beyond what is available in high school to pursue their interests and aspirations. We can make specific recommendations from middle school through high school.

2. Strong grades, especially in college preparatory coursework. Colleges and universities look for a consistent, preferably upward trend in both rigor and grades. They often look at AP exam scores too. Some students study very effectively on their own and others may need occasional or consistent support to do well in their more difficult classes and on standardized tests. Our professional network of tutors have demonstrated success helping students succeed!

3. Solid test scores on the SAT/ACT and SAT Subject Tests. In addition to grades, many schools look for strong SAT and/or ACT test scores; some require or recommend SAT Subject Tests. Since you do not know what your college list will be, it is best to prepare by taking two SAT Subject Tests following the completion of relevant coursework. Our network of standardized test preparation professionals help our clients reach their score goals!

4. Meaningful involvement in extracurricular activities. Depth, not breadth, is most important as well as demonstrated leadership. We can suggest new activities, and show you how to leverage existing ones to strengthen your profile.

5. Well-conceived and well-written essays. Personal essays of the variety colleges require are different than the writing you do in high school coursework. Strong reflective writing provides admissions readers with insights into the student’s unique personality, values and aspirations. We help you develop the skills you need to write winning essays in your own voice and with your own ideas for every type of prompt schools ask.

6. A well-integrated application and strong, cohesive student profile. Doing College teaches the student how to use every part of the application to their best advantage.

7. Excellent letters of recommendation from academic subject teachers and school guidance counselor. Concrete illustrations of a student’s unique skills and positive character traits in the high school environment, and especially in the classroom, create a good impression and help distinguish them in the eyes of admissions. Students can control a great deal of this part of their application, if they have sound advice and learn how to take the initiative early enough to have these letters well written. Strong letters of recommendation do impact admission results.

8. Interviews that support the student’s strength and good character. Interview preparation can help support college applications immensely, whether the interview is evaluative or informational in nature. Doing College offers the kind of positive and fun preparation that helps each student feel more confident and ready for interviews.

9. Demonstrated, sincere interest in a college’s mission and programs of interest. Interest is conveyed through college visits, virtual tours, smart inquiries, and scheduled interviews. And, it is most certainly shown in well-researched, sincere responses to supplemental questions on college applications. Demonstrated interest, and in particular, these responses are increasingly important in today’s competitive admissions environment. We are familiar with these prompts and help each applicant do their best writing to enhance their application profile.

10. Proof of a good match between student and college. The student who makes a convincing presentation of the match between him or her and the college is a stronger applicant with high chances of admission. Doing College teaches students how to make the match by developing a focused college list, visiting targeted campuses, planning an overnight or weekend stay, attending regional presentations, opting for optional interviews, and much more.

Contact Doing College to set up a complimentary 30-minute phone consultation with Elizabeth LaScala to discuss our services.

Doing College offers educational consulting services to students and their parents in Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda and greater California, as well as nationally and internationally.

Top Ten Factors Influencing College Admissions

“Elizabeth LaScala was the most influential and supportive person in my college search and application process. I had a difficult time during my junior year of high school balancing elite sports obligations and academic expectations. Sadly, the situation hurt my grades. I felt hopeless and my dreams of attending a fine university were crushed. I contacted Elizabeth and her help was beyond anything that I could have possibly gotten anywhere else. Because of her guidance, I am enrolled at Stanford University with a swimming scholarship. With her support I have opportunities today that I never would have dreamed possible.”

Olivia Morgan
Stanford University

“After helping Olivia get into Stanford, Elizabeth is now working with our second daughter, Victoria. Elizabeth has a special way with children. She is exciting and fun to work with. She knows how to uplift children’s spirits and motivate them to do their best. She is enthusiastic, yet disciplined in the way she works. She really cares and my daughter knows it. We think anyone who has the opportunity to work with Elizabeth should do it and do it before problems develop. If you want your children to succeed, and who doesn’t, we would strongly recommend they work with Elizabeth for academic counseling and college advising early on in the high school years.”

Dale and Alan Morgan
Daughter, Olivia
Stanford University
Daughter, Victoria
UC Santa Cruz