How do admissions officers read your application?
The process varies slightly per school (see two links included below), but the general process is as follows:
1. School Profile and Transcript
School Profile: Strength of school curriculum, percentage of students who convert and matriculate, percentage of students who graduate.
Transcript: GPA, grade trend, strength of schedule: school curriculum, performance in challenging courses (AP, IB, Honors).
2. Standardized Test Scores
Strong test scores are becoming ubiquitous, and there is a “standardized test scores not required” trend. However, for now, schools typically glance at these. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post about students’ misaligned focus on test scores.
3. Activities
In which activities has a student been involved? For how long? What is their depth of involvement? Do they have a formal leadership role or leadership responsibilities? Have they made a difference/positively impacted the organization? Have they shown initiative? Will they continue this activity in college?
4. Essays

This is the area in which students, particularly high-achieving students, can truly differentiate themselves.

See one of our many blog posts on the importance of essays.
5. Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation are particularly important for students who have achieved a significant accomplishment, struggled academically at an isolated point, or who do not quite meet admissions standards for that particular school.
You can read more here: and