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Recent research suggests that, in general, colleges seek applicants who have leadership, initiative, and grit (meaning applicants who are curious, determined, and hungry for challenges).
But what portions of the application reveal those qualities? I have blogged in the past about the problems with standardized test scores, including that:
Similarly, high school grade point averages may vary based on a host of factors, including one’s high school or particular teachers, whether a student faced adversity while in high school, etc.
Thus, colleges are looking for more non-cognitive measures to identify and measure the qualities that they really desire because they want to see that students have an ability to transfer skills and knowledge to real-world situations.
Many non-profit organizations, as well as businesses, are currently attempting to develop measures of non-cognitive skills. For example, The College Board is developing a standardized way to measure 12 attributes, including perseverance, artistic appreciation, and ethics. Likewise, The Education Testing Service has developed an online system, entitled the Personal Potential Index, for evaluators to rate applicants on six categories, such as knowledge and creativity, communication skills, teamwork, and resilience.
But for now, until these non-cognitive assessments are more prolific, the best way that you can demonstrate these attributes most clearly is in your essays, interviews, and resumes.
Spark provides customized guidance to help you get into your top-choice schools.