Character counts when it comes to college admission, according to new data from the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and the Character Collaborative.

In two recent national surveys, 447 college admission officers were asked to indicate the level of importance given to various factors, including positive character traits, when making admission decisions. 2,345 secondary school counselors were then asked about school-wide efforts to encourage positive character traits in the student body.

Key findings include:

  • 70 percent of admission officers said a student’s character attributes were either “considerably” or “moderately” important in the selection process at their respective institutions.
  • About 58 percent of secondary school counselors reported having a formal character development program in place in their schools, with private school counselors more likely to have these programs in their schools than public school counselors.
  • Almost 75 percent of formal character development programs were developed by school personnel.
  • Fewer than 40 percent of counselors reported that character development programs, as implemented in their schools, included assessment tools.
  • Almost 70 percent of counselors with formal character programs in their schools incorporated the program into existing classes.