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What Colleges Look For

Colleges and universities look at a variety of factors when they evaluate your college application, such as:

  • Advanced-level classes—such as Advanced Placement (AP) courses—that you have taken
  • Academic electives
  • Performance on high school assessment tests (i.e. the SAT or the ACT)
  • Trends in your course performance and grades
  • Volunteer, leadership, and extracurricular activities
  • Special talents, such as music, dance, theater, and athletics
  • Unique circumstances and obstacles that you have overcome in your life.

Check out this video for more information about what colleges look for in student applications. Also be sure to contact the admissions officers at the schools you're interested in attending. They can tell you about the schools' admissions requirements and what you can do to position yourself to meet them. And don't forget to review the Way2GoMaryland poster, which outlines the courses you should take to prepare to attend a University System of Maryland school.

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