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Factors in College Admission

student with laptopA student’s high school record continues to be the most important factor in college admission decisions for prospective first-time freshmen, according to NACAC survey results.

Data in the 13th annual edition of NACAC’s State of College Admission​ report show students’ grades and the academic rigor of their course loads weigh more heavily in decisions to admit than standardized test scores, high school class rank, or demonstrated interest in attending.

“Year to year, we find that getting good grades in challenging courses is what college admission offices value most when reviewing applications from first-time freshmen,” said Joyce E. Smith, NACAC’s chief executive officer. “Similarly, admission professionals pay close attention to academic achievements when reviewing applications from international and transfer students.”

For high school seniors applying to college, performance in core classes is especially significant, with 79.2 percent of institutions attributing “considerable importance” to grades in college-prep courses. In comparison, 55.7 percent of colleges placed the same level of significance on admission test scores for first-time freshmen applicants.