The factors that admission officers use to evaluate applications from first-time freshmen have remained largely consistent over the past 20 years. Students’ academic achievements—which include grades, strength of curriculum, and admission test scores—constitute the most important factors in the admission decision. Admission decision factors for first-time international students are similar to those for domestic students, but the transfer admission decision process differs in significant ways.
Admission Offices Identify Grades, High School Curriculum, and Test Scores as Top Factors for First-Time Freshmen: The top factors in the admission decision for the Fall 2015 admission cycle were: grades in college preparatory courses, strength of curriculum, overall high school GPA, and admission test scores. Among the next most important factors were the essay, a student’s demonstrated interest, counselor and teacher recommendations, extracurricular activities, and class rank.
Top Factor for International Students is English Proficiency Exam Scores: After English proficiency, the factors for admission decisions with international applicants are remarkably similar to those for domestic students, with one notable exception. A greater proportion of colleges rated the essay/writing sample as considerably important for international applicants, likely because of the additional confirmation of English skills that the essay provides.
For Transfer Admission Decisions, College Grades Matter Most: The only transfer admission decision factors that were rated considerably important by a substantial proportion of colleges were overall GPA at prior postsecondary institution(s) and average grades in transferrable courses.
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Chapter 1: College Applications
Learn about key findings regarding undergraduate application volume as well as acceptance and yield rates.Read More
Chapter 2: Recruitment and Yield Strategies
Learn about the common strategies admission offices use to recruit prospective students.Read More
Chapter 4: College Counseling in Secondary Schools
Access to college information and counseling in school is a significant benefit to students in the college application process.Read More