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Do colleges look at other things besides grades and SAT scores?

QUESTION: Whenever I hear about college, all I hear is how important grades and SAT scores are. Do colleges make their decisions by looking at other aspects of our lives as well? What else counts? Signed, More to Life

Dear More to Life: Colleges don't want classes filled with students who spend all of their time in the library. They want students who contribute to the campus community by getting involved in athletics, public service, the arts, politics and every other opportunity on campus.

Because of this, colleges consider more than your grades and test scores. They also take into account your involvement in activities, character, leadership and passion for learning. Colleges learn about these aspects of your life through the other pieces of the application like descriptions of your activities and work experience, essays, teacher recommendations and interviews.

This is why it is important to not be focused exclusively on your grades and scores but to spend time getting involved, working or volunteering and crafting your application and essay. Colleges look at you as an entire person, not just the bearer of a GPA and SAT scores.


Gen & Kelly Tanabe
Gen and Kelly Tanabe are the founders of SuperCollege and the award-winning authors of 11 books on college admission, financial aid and scholarships. Together they were accepted to all of the Ivy League colleges and won more than $100,000 in merit-based scholarships to graduate from Harvard debt-free.

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