Colleges look for more than ACT scores in applications

College counselor Mrs. Dutmers responds to February article ‘ACT lowers self esteem, creates stress’

As the college counselor, I have great news to share that some students may not be aware of until the college planning meeting, which is another great reason to schedule your junior year meeting with the college counselor, as we cover A LOT of information and how it pertains to you!

First, the majority of colleges and universities evaluate students on a holistic basis, meaning they look at multiple factors that the student presents in his/her application, including valuable personal information beyond the statistical information found on your ACT/SAT and transcript. This includes your activities, what you say about yourself in your essays, and what others (teacher and counselor) say about you in their recommendation. The essays are the component of the application ALL students have 100% control over and it has become an increasingly important factor in the admissions decision, especially among highly selective schools.

Secondly, many colleges and universities are becoming test optional. This means that they DO NOT REQUIRE the ACT or SAT for admissions consideration! Instead, they value other means with which to evaluate a student’s college readiness, such as requiring extra written essays (ie. DePaul University) or video essays (ie. University of Chicago). For a list to refer to, check out
Main takeaway: a variety of factors are evaluated in the college application that are all very important. Focus on the factors you have power over regardless of how well of a test taker you are. So, that means do well in your classes, get involved with our community, and make a positive impact. Also, make your college planning meeting appointment with the college counselor junior year!