College Admission Requirements


Many high school students apply to colleges every year. It is a complex, multilevel, and, at times, controversial process. College admissions involve multiple steps, and take a considerable amount of time. The major elements of the process are making choices, writing an essay, paying fees, visiting college, and passing interviews. Students prepare separate applications to every college. Though, the Common Application may sometimes expedite the process. Overall, the main controversy is that there are many requirements that may differ from college to college. Thus, a high school student should carefully study all standards and requirements of colleges he wants to apply to. In any case, it should be admitted that the complexity of the process and its elements is justified, as it works and preserves the general order of admission for all high school students.


In recent years, students have started to apply to colleges earlier than the common deadline on the 1st of January, while the regular admission remains a widespread phenomenon. It is easier for institutions to process all data, if they have more time. Foreigners and minor applicants are usually the ones who choose this route. Some people think that the main controversy is that students are unable to compare competing aid packages from various colleges. Yet, students and parents may ask about the expected costs before applying. Thus, the aforementioned downside can be mitigated to some extent. At the same time, I agree that early admission is beneficial to wealthy families, as they do not have to compare financial aid offers. Additionally, “early decision” benefits colleges, as it almost guarantees that an applicant will attend. Thus, it helps college to improve its ratings. The other tool a student should use is an early action. It is similar to early decision, but it is not binding. Thus, a student can apply to multiple colleges. Moreover, there is a belief that early action is perfect for the students who have already decided where they want to apply to. Talking about regular admission, it is considered that it would be the best choice for the students who are not sure where they want to apply to. The main advantage of this way is that students are able to improve their grades during the fall of the senior year. Additionally, they have more time to make the decision about the college they want to enter. Yet, the best advantage is that regular admission results in higher offers of financial aid. It is a good subsidiary mechanism that simplifies the financial side of the process for many American families.

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One of the main college admission requirements is obviously the passing of a certain test. Most of the colleges accept either the ACT or SAT test. They have formulas that help to convert scores into admissions criteria. The main controversy about passing tests is that there have been examples of people passing the tests instead of the real students (Dominus). The phenomenon is illegal, but it remains a common practice. The other downside is that many students decide to take the test for the second time in order to improve their scores. Thus, they may become score obsessed. This is why many specialists advice passing tests only once, or maximum two times. The other issue is that the tests are often criticized for being ineffective in predicting life success. People tend to pay too much attention to the score, as if the result of the test determines who the person will be in his or her future. On the positive side, both SAT and ACT tests are equivalent and seem to bring similar results. Moreover, each test is equally accepted by colleges. The only point that should be mentioned is the slight difference in the structure of the tests that may benefit one of the test-takers. For instance, there is no penalty for wrong answer in ACT test, so a student can guess the answer while the time remains. At the same time, incorrect guessing is penalized on the SAT test. It makes SAT test more important in evaluating applicants. Some admissions officers consider the test to be a better indicator of academic ability. In any case, it should not be considered that the previously mentioned difference to have a great impact on the test results. A student cannot guess all the answers. This is why the issue should not be viewed as a major one.

College admissions essays provoke different opinions. They are considered to be less important than high school grades and test scores. Yet, I believe that an essay can make a difference in certain circumstances. The essays may be a primary index of a student’s character. The student should be guided not by the quantity, but by the quality. The standard length of the college admissions essay is considered to be 500 words. A bigger essay may be irritating, and show that a student cannot qualitatively shape his or her thought. There is an opinion that the essay should be honest, concise, accurate, and cohering, while revealing a smart and likeable individual. A student may use humor and touch controversial topics in a balanced way. The main goal is to show social conscience, maturity, inclusiveness, and tolerance. Writing college admissions essay may be a controversial element in the admissions process, as it does not regard the precise knowledge that a student should show in SAT or ACT tests. Yet, everything can be blamed as prejudiced. In any case, it should be mentioned that the college admissions essay shows the student’s ability to think and analyze better than all the other college requirements

Another major requirement in admissions process is passing an interview. Overall, interviews are considered to be less important than college admissions essays, but they should be done, if that is a requirement of the college. If a student decides not to go to such an interview, it may be detrimental to his or her chances for admission. I believe that it is the most important requirement that colleges have. The grades are not the only indicators of the student’s prospects. The interview allows a person to show the positive sides of his or her character and its strengths. Such qualities cannot always be seen in the admissions tests. Additionally, the interview helps to show the student’s desire to enter a precise college. An applicant may say something specific about the college, or a subject, or a professor who teaches there. Thus, it will show the student’s sincere interest and may improve his or her rating.


In conclusion, college admission is a complex, multilevel, and, at times, controversial process. It involves multiple steps, and takes a considerable amount of time. Thus, there are several college admission requirements that a high school student should accomplish. One of the first requirements is the process of applying. A student may choose an early admission, early decision, or regular admission. The other requirement is passing the ACT or SAT test. Having passed the test, the student may be asked to come for an interview, or write a college admissions essay. All previously mentioned requirements may provoke some controversy, but they mainly depend on the student’s punctuality and awareness. It depends on the high school student, whether he or she decides to carefully study all the standards and requirements of colleges, or decides to put it to chance. Eventually, it should be said that the complexity of the process and its elements is justified. The versatility of the requirements preserves the general order of admissions for all high school students.

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