Education

Colleges Most Interested in Applicants’ Grades, Course Rigor

By Caralee J. Adams — February 03, 2014 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Just what are admissions officers looking for when they review a college application?

The top factors (in order of importance) are students’ grades in college-prep courses, the strength of their high school curriculum, scores on standardized admission exams (SAT or ACT), and overall high school grade point average, new survey data show.

The 2013 State of College Admissions report, released by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, finds that indicators of academic performance in high school trump factors on the application, such as the quality of students’ essays, demonstrated interest in a school, counselor and teacher recommendations, class rank, and extracurricular activities.

The report is based information gathered by the Arlington, Va.-based association through surveys sent to public and private high schools (966 responded) and postsecondary-institution members of NACAC (446 responded), as well as data from the College Board Annual Survey of Colleges, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Census Bureau.

About 25 percent of colleges rated race/ethnicity, first-generation status, and the high school attended as at least moderately important as a factor in admissions, the report says.

Other highlights of the report:


  • Application volume mixed: About 64 percent of colleges reported an increase in total applications, but 27 percent experienced decreases. Among the fall 2012 freshmen, 28 percent submitted seven or more applications, down slightly from 29 percent the year before.
  • Overall enrollment dips: For the first time since the early 1990s, college enrollment declined slightly as of 2011, with 21 million Americans attending some kind of postsecondary institution. Fewer students at for-profit colleges and two-year public colleges drove this trend, while enrollment at public and private nonprofit colleges expanded. After a 37 percent increase in enrollment in the past decade, the long-term projection is still for overall growth through 2021 to 24 million.
  • Colleges face yield uncertainty: Fewer students are accepting offers from college and universities, making it more difficult for schools to predict their enrollment numbers. In the fall of 2012, about 37 percent of students who were admitted to an institution accepted. The yield rate has steadily declined from nearly 43 percent in 2009.

A version of this news article first appeared in the College Bound blog.

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Building Teacher Capacity for Social-Emotional Learning
Set goals that support adult well-being and social-emotional learning: register today!


Content provided by Panorama
Jobs October 2021 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Gunman in 2018 Parkland School Massacre Pleads Guilty
A jury will decide whether Nikolas Cruz will be executed for one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings.
3 min read
Annika Dworet and her husband, Mitch Dworet, wipe away tears as their son's name is read aloud during Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz's guilty plea on all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The Dworet's son, Nicholas Dworet, 17, was killed in the massacre.
Annika Dworet and her husband, Mitch Dworet, wipe away tears as their son's name is read aloud during Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz's guilty plea on all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The Dworet's son, Nicholas Dworet, 17, was killed in the massacre.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP
Education Briefly Stated: October 20, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Gunman in Parkland School Massacre to Plead Guilty
The gunman who killed 14 students and three staff members at a Florida high school will plead guilty to their murders, his attorneys said.
4 min read
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP
Education California Makes Ethnic Studies a High School Requirement
California is among the first in the nation to require students to take a course in ethnic studies to get a diploma starting in 2029-30.
4 min read
FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2020, file photo, Democratic Assembly members, from left, James Ramos, Chris Holden Jose Medina, and Rudy Salas, Jr., right, huddle during an Assembly session in Sacramento, Calif. Medina's bill to make ethnic studies a high school requirement was signed into law by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)