Suggested Prep for College Admissions to Highly Competitive Colleges and Universities

The following are some general recommendations for admission into competitive colleges. Admittance is in no way guaranteed. Colleges carefully consider a variety of things including test scores, class rank, grade point average (GPA), AP and honors classes, athletic participation, activities, application essay, community service and recommendations.  Colleges also look for diversity in their student body.   Check out and


Normally, the average ACT score for a very competitive college is 28-32.  The average SAT Verbal and Math score is 650-750. Class rank and GPA are also very important.  A GPA of at least 3.5 is recommended.  Colleges still consider test scores and GPA as the greatest predictor of success in college.


It is recommended that students take as many honors and AP classes as possible.  A good score on AP exams is important.


Colleges look for dedication and commitment in athletics as well as ability.  For example, it is better to play a sport for several years in a row rather than playing a different sport every year.


It is generally more important to be dedicated and passionate about a few activities than to participate in several activities for a short period of time. Get involved in school or church groups or activities and stay involved for several of years.


Finding your own voice-the ability to make your reader hear you talking through your written words-is very important.  An excellent resource to help with this is the book The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White.  Admission committees are not interested in hearing about your summer vacation in Europe or your plan to promote world peace.  They are interested in learning about who you are, what you think, and how you think.


Again, dedication, commitment, and passion are the keys to successful community service. It is better to be involved in the same community service activity for a significant amount of time than to do several different activities in a year.


Take your recommendations seriously.  Don’t pick someone as a referent just because you think she/he is a great teacher.  Pick someone who you know writes well.  Also, pick someone who knows you well and has reasons to speak highly of you.

Remember; be diligent, consistent, committed, and persistent.  Good luck!