Counselors Guide Students by What Colleges Desire in Applicants

Higher education schools should contact high school counselors to help provide them guidance on how they can effectively guide students to their institutions.  By educating high school counselors on what is looked for in potential applicants, they can directly guide students to your programs based on their individual talents and interests and thus as a future alumnus.

Looking at Applicants

When colleges look at applicants, they are hoping to find students with the skills and desires to succeed at their institution and reflect well after their graduation in industry.  They are interested in how a student seem to be prepared for their particular institution, but also as a future alumnus or ambassador that represents them too.  Could they earn a grant for the college?   Will they be President or CEO of an organization or even international corporation?  Will they develop the next popular application?

Counselors Help Guide Students

Therefore, counselors should help guide applicants by using the essays, recommendations, and extra-curricular activities, both school and non-school related, to market an applicant in the best presentation of these items as well as the applicant’s academic record.  Encouraging them based on what a college desires will help provide success in chosen profession.  Thus, if an institution reaches out to the schools, they can provide this information to high school counselors and work with them constantly to help build students geared to that institution’s programs.

The Importance of the Academic Record

Academic records carry the most weight.  Thus, a counselee’s academic scores are evaluated on how they did, as well as the courses they chose.


SAT/ACT scores provide a standard for colleges to compare applicants.  The goal here should be to have a score in the 75th percentile of admitted students’ scores.  The score in combination with their GPA is used to determine an accurate depiction of the applicant’s skills.  Colleges publish each year an admissions profile and those scores play a role in those averages.  This is where some of the respectability of the chosen schools comes from.  The scores and grades from high school influence the colleges that accept applicants in many ways.  A high SAT/ACT score can improve a low GPA by indicating knowledge preparedness, as the overall GPA could be affected by one grade that was not proficient.


High school grades indicate if the candidate can handle the course load of the applied for college.  Top tier schools are encouraged by transcripts that have the most difficult classes provided in your high school.  If a student has a grade of B in a harder class, then it weighs more than an A in a regular course.  If the harder courses are not offered, admissions officers will take that into account.

Extracurricular Activities

The student’s extracurricular activities are what colleges use to evaluate their future performance after graduation.  Any leadership roles are highly beneficial.  An expertise, as in mostly science related activities or volunteer works, is advantageous.  It’s recommended to guide students to follow their personal interests and participate in several extracurricular activities related to that particular interest or passion through leadership, goals, accomplishments, and awards.

Personal Essay & Letters of Recommendation

Lastly, personal essays and letters of recommendation serve a purpose to show the applicant’s potential to succeed.  This will not carry as much weight as grades and activities.  It’s helpful that the essay and recommendations supplement the extracurricular activities that the applicants are most keenly interested in and participate the most.

These factors and reasons surrounding what colleges, including Ivy League level institutions, use to evaluate are what high school counselors need to routinely review in guiding their students.  Helping them decide which courses to take, especially the advanced courses, and how these choices can be beneficial in their future.  Providing why these choices are advisable can be a from of encouragement to the student for boosting motivation and drive.

The role of the high school counselors is to help a student become the best applicant for an institution. And, colleges can assist counselors in this process by ensuring that they have the best information on hand.  Reach out to high schools counselors today!


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