Factors Affecting the Admission Decisions of the Universities in the US

You want to study at a university in the US. Obviously, you would want to apply by fulfilling the necessary conditions to get accepted into a university of your choosing. Many students like you also apply to universities in the US. However, universities do not have the time and opportunity to evaluate all the students in detail. Therefore, schools give priority to specific criteria when assessing applications. So, what do schools prioritize in an application? A report prepared by the National Association for College Admission Counseling lists the specific criteria universities have prioritized in student applications.

The top factors affecting the admission decision

According to the list, the top criteria are grades across all courses, the strength of curriculum, and admission test scores (SAT, ACT).

Grades in All Courses

Grades, which are the criterion of academic success, play a dominant role in college admissions. The grades, which inform schools about the student’s education in high school, came to the forefront as the most crucial criterion for the schools. As a result of the survey conducted with 220 schools, 75 percent of the schools answered of considerable importance to the grades in all courses criterion. The reason why schools put an emphasis on grades is that the grades of a student are an indicator of the student’s success moving forward. Consistent high grades are a critical measure of the student’s hard work and discipline. A student may complete her education in different countries during her high school years, taking an average of 25 courses and lessons from at least 20 different teachers. In this case, it is obvious that high grades are not a coincidence if the applicant has a high academic average.

Strength of Curriculum

Of course, not only the numerical value of the grades but also the content of the curriculum is decisive for schools. Quality of the courses taken is a very significant factor for schools in determining who they will accept into their programs.

Advanced Placement (AP) courses are offered to high school students and are harder than regular courses in the US. In addition to these, there are university courses taken by 11th and 12th graders, called Dual Enrollment courses. These courses appear in the transcripts is a serious advantage for the student, particularly if the student earns high grades in these classes.

So, what is the situation for international students regarding these heavy courses? Universities in the US know that AP or International Bachelorette (IB) courses are not offered in every high school. However, with a critical transcript evaluation, admissions counselors can figure out what type of mathematics lessons the student took and what subjects she has progressed to. For example, they estimate that at least 2 out of 5 math classes taken in high school are advanced math. In some cases, universities may even request a letter from high schools about the courses to clarify the student’s progress in these high school courses.

Admission Test Scores

In these exams, there is no lower limit score required, at least officially. Some schools may allow the applicant to choose whether or not they will submit the results of these exams. However, according to unwritten rules, exam results are important criteria. Moreover, according to the report we mentioned, 45 percent of the schools consider test results to be significantly important. We see this when we consider the SAT. The SAT average scores of the students admitted to top schools in the previous year are around 1500-1600.

Moderately Important Factors

The factors in this category are the factors that schools give secondary importance after the above criteria. These reflect the student’s personal qualities and interests. About 40 percent of schools in the US stated that they give moderate importance to extracurricular activities as well as counselor and teacher recommendations. Additionally, 33 percent of the schools consider the essay or writing examples as moderately important. In other words, we can say that there are essential factors that affect the result of the application such as extracurricular activities, essays or writing samples, and teacher and counselor recommendations.

Extracurricular Activities

Every school in the US wants to learn about the activities in which the prospective student participates. These subjects can include very different titles such as sports, volunteer activities, scientific research, internship, part-time work, art, and competitions. Schools want to see “passion”, “leadership” or “social impact” under this heading. The rest can be considered as the student’s choice. Therefore, the student’s academic success and 1-2 activities, which he focuses on outside of the classroom will distinguish the student from other students in their applications.

Essays or Writing Samples and Recommendations

Finally, presenting this whole profile on time and satisfactorily is significantly important. You can increase your chances of getting into the best schools with an impressive student essay, which answers questions the schools ask, and usually have a 400-word limit. Moreover, persuasive reference letters from teachers and counselors are impactful in students’ applications.

Of course, another crucial issue in this process is consultancy. Following and satisfying all of these conditions is tedious. Because of this, professional help becomes useful. Also, receiving assistance from experienced people who are familiar with the application process makes a huge difference since they know the importance of these factors. When applying to schools, you may encounter dozens of barriers and problems that may leave you with serious hesitation. I recommend that you seek professional support in order to increase your chances of acceptance and scholarship.

Source: https://www.nacacnet.org/globalassets/documents/publications/research/2018_soca/soca2019_all.pdf

Furkan Kan

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