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Rethinking College Admission Criteria

If you have a child in high school, then surely college admissions must be on your mind. Is my child’s GPA good enough? Will he/she get accepted to the program of their choice? These worries reign on your mind. With adequate learning resources, getting a good GPA is achievable. However, is a good GPA enough?

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Several good universities have started looking at other factors when selecting candidates. They are not just looking for students who are overachievers. They want to emphasize good citizenship, compassion and caring over personal academic excellence.

If that is the case, then what should children do to prove that they care for the society. How can they succeed in their mission of getting into a good college program? Below are a few ideas to help guide them.

Volunteer at food banks, social events at school, local libraries, summer camps etc. Choose a cause and show consistency in your volunteering efforts. Students shouldn’t randomly jump from one volunteering gig to another. To find out about volunteering opportunities in your locality, visit websites for local organization like United way of King county (, King county parks (, Boys and Girls club (  Bellevue school district runs a Mentor Tutor program called vibe that is run by high school student volunteers ( Search for similar opportunities in your county. Students can also get involved in fundraising for Cancer awareness or volunteer at Children’s hospital.

Another way is to combine personal / academic achievements with caring for the society. Participate in Science Olympiads and present ideas or projects for the betterment of society. Students could prove that they care for the environment, medical research etc. Be innovative. For example, coming up with a cheaper technology to filter water. Most students who advance at the national level at science fairs have worked on such projects. Check out the website for Washington state Science Olympiad Such opportunities are excellent to enhance academic knowledge as well and will surely look good on a college application.

These are just a few options. There are surely various other volunteering opportunities where students can volunteer to show that they are compassionate and caring. Always keep a log of your volunteer hours and get good written recommendations from authorities at these organizations.

As a parent, I am delighted that Universities are giving more thought and searching for other qualities besides academic excellence in prospective students. This gives students a chance to get away from the academic rat race enabling them to be more outgoing and innovative. So, motivate your child and help them explore opportunities to build a better world and future for themselves.


Author: Shilpi Gupta


Shilpi Gupta is a software professional who lives in Bothell,  Washington.
She is a mom of two and she enjoys vegan cooking and is very interested in topics related to kids education!

One thought on “Rethinking College Admission Criteria

  1. I am Dr S K Gupta and work for DIT UNIVERSITY DEHRADUN INDIA. I am a physicist and take keen interest in educational issues.

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