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Factors in the Admission Decision:  First-Time Freshmen, Fall 2014

 
(Source: National Association for College Admission Counseling)

(Source: National Association for College Admission Counseling)

In the freshman class of 2015 75.5% of the students were accepted at their first-choice school.
— (Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac 2017)
53.2% of freshman students who enrolled in college in 2015 applies to 1-5 schools.
28.7% applied to 60 schools.
— (Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac 2017)
(Source: National Association for College Admission Counseling)

(Source: National Association for College Admission Counseling)


The top admission decision factors for first-time freshmen have been consistent for decades.

(Source: National Association for College Admission Counseling)

(Source: National Association for College Admission Counseling)

The No. 1 factor—rated as considerably important by 79 percent of colleges was grades in college prep courses, followed by strength of curriculum and grades in all courses and admission test scores.
— (Source: National Association for College Admission Counseling)
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A second set of factors were most often considered to be moderately important. These factors tend to provide insight regarding personal qualities and student interests, as well as more detail on academic performance.
They included:

essays or writing samples
teacher and counselor recommendations
student’s demonstrated interest
class rank
extracurricular activities.
— (Source: National Association for College Admission Counseling)
A final group of admission decision factors were given moderate or considerable importance by a small percentage of institutions, likely because they are relevant only to a small subset of colleges.
These factors included:

subject test scores (AP, IB)
portfolios
SAT II scores
interviews
state graduation exams scores
work experience
— (Source: National Association for College Admission Counseling)