HS Class of 2021 Parents: Here's What Colleges Will Be Looking For From Your Kid This Fall

As students wind down the school year and are starting to look at what’s ahead for their 2020-21 application cycle, they must know more than just the basics. Yes, colleges will start grades, scores, resume, recommendations and essays, but how much each will weigh in the process is still, like almost everything, uncertain.

Historically, colleges have focused on 13 key factors in terms of admission:


  • Rigorously appropriate curriculum with Honors, AP and IB classes
  • Highest grades possible
  • Solid ACT or SAT scores that is consistent with high school performance
  • Strong, well-written personal and supplemental essays
  • Diverse resume with activities that show passion and purpose 
  • Superlative letters of recommendations from teachers and school counselor
  • Ability to pay (especially out-of-state, full-pay students)
  • Leadership showing depth and commitment
  • Demographic and personal characteristics that promote diversity
  • Intellectual curiosity or strength in a particular discipline shown through reading, research and extracurricular pursuits
  • Special talents to contribute to the college (arts, athletics)
  • Character and values
  • Demonstrated Interest and desire to attend the school 

What will they be looking for in the next 90-100 days? #storiesoverscores With the Common App introducing an opportunity to write about COVID 19 experiences beyond the personal essay and many schools choosing not to consider ACT or SATS next year, your child must have stories, yes stories plural, to stand out amongst their peers and competition. 

The COVID-19 question is tricky. Should students write about excelling with remote learning? Grades plummeting with remote? I'll family? Financial state of their family? Joys and pains of quarantining?  

With so much on their minds, this is not a question to take lightly or possibly not even answer it. 

How can you help them with this? 

Essays and resumes are part of the foundation of the College Application Action Plan where I assist students in the class of 2021 to confirm their college list, create a resume and develop key essays for their college applications. You can throw history out the window for this cycle. Given all that we are going through as a world, colleges want stories that reveal who a student is and what’s important to them.

Now ask yourself, does your child know how to tell their story?

Need help? Let our expert advice help you and your child to manage, execute and WIN the college application process.

Let’s talk! https://calendly.com/strategicadmissionsadvice/initialphoneconsultation for a free 15-minute initial consultation call or email us at:
[email protected]