I was in Denver last month for the annual convention of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. One of the topics that was discussed was the question of what highly selective colleges are looking for in deciding who to admit.
I have discussed this issue in the past. However, today I wanted to quickly explain how one highly selective college looks at this question.
One of the speakers was from the University of Chicago. The speaker indicated that when the admissions committee at Chicago meets to evaluate students they look at 3 factors: the academic rating; the personal rating and the fit rating.
The academic rating looks at issues like what the student’s GPA is, what classes they took for that GPA, how competitive their high school is and their test scores.
The personal rating looks at issues such as the activities the student has been involved with throughout high school. Was the student involved in the activity on a regular and consistent basis? Was the student a leader in an organization? Does the student show a certain level of maturity?
Finally the fit rating looks at the question of whether this student would be a good fit for the University of Chicago. If you are not excited about attending a college in an urban environment or don’t enjoy quirky fun, the University of Chicago may not be the best college for you.
The type of rating system used by the University of Chicago is fairly common among colleges and selective colleges in particularly. It allows them to use a form of shorthand to fairly quickly figure out who might be a good candidate and who might be better at another university.
Each college uses different rating systems and I have heard of colleges using a rating from 1 to 10 with 1 being the strongest while other colleges use a 1 to 10 rating with 10 being the strongest. Don’t worry about these numbers because chances are you will never know how a particular college ranked you and frankly, it doesn’t matter.
What is important is to understand why colleges like this will often reject students with very strong grades and test scores. I have said it before but understand that grades and test scores alone will not get you admitted to a highly selective college. At colleges like this you need that personality and fit to really be a competitive candidate.