Parents and teachers alike have probably told you that the best way to get into college is to keep your grades up and to have a good SAT score. This statement is correct, however there seems to be a shift in what colleges consider the “ideal student”. Nowadays, you could have a 2400 on the SAT but if you have zero extracurricular activities, your chances of getting into the college of your dreams is slim to none. Although it may sound ridiculous, this is the shocking reality that has caught some parents and students off-guard.
You may think the smart kid in your class can basically get into any college they want. However if he or she is lacking in the personality department, then you might be the one getting the acceptance letter from the college both of you applied to. According to a University of Illinois professor who researches the sociology of education, sophomores who were rated by their teachers as having good social skills, work habits, and who were actively involved in extracurricular activities had a higher income and completed higher levels of education ten years later than their classmates who had just as good SAT scores but were in hardly any extracurricular activities.
It may be hard to believe but personality is an important factor when it comes to college admissions. Christy Lleras, a professor of community and human development believes that “soft skills” such as sociability and an ability to get along with others combined with participation in extracurricular activities are more effective predictors of earnings and higher educational achievement later in life than goods grades and near perfect SAT scores.
“With the shift from a manufacturing-based economy to a service-and information based economy employers are starting to value workers who not only have a GPA and an SAT score through the roof but are also able to get along with the public not to mention their co-workers,” Lleras said.
Even the most popular schools in Texas such as UT have extracurricular activities listed before standardized test scores under what is important on the College Board website. This just more evidence revealing that one’s social skills are becoming more important to colleges and the “ideal student” is one that is not only smart but posses adequate social skills.
Parents and teachers are correct when they tell you your grades and your SAT scores matter. However the trick to getting into college today is to get involved around your school and participate in some extracurricular activities.