Using selectivity for college preparation

Prepare for college by researching selectivity for admissions.

For high school students, planning a future after graduation can be a challenge. Some items that can make planning for the future a challenge are the options available for graduates after high school such as applying for higher education, like college or trade school, entering the workforce or both. For students interested in attending college, there are many things to check for to get admitted into a college or university. As a college search begins, one criterion to be aware of is college selectivity.

What is selectivity? A brief definition of selectivity for college admissions is, the difficulty of gaining admission into a particular school or the application to admit ratio. Typically, colleges fall into one of three college selectivity categories: selective, moderately selective or open admissions. Each category is described in detail below.

  • Selective (people will also associate the term highly selective with selective) – the term highly selective refers to colleges that admit one-third or fewer applicants, or colleges that accept a small percentage in general. The lower the percentage of students the school accepts, the more selective the school is.
  • Moderately selective colleges are between the selective, or highly selective, and open admissions colleges. The majority of the colleges in the U.S. fall in this category.
  • Open admissions colleges accept all students for enrollment as long they complete high school or receive a GED.

Selectivity is measured on a scale of 60-99. This score is based on certain factors like the student’s grade point average, standardized test scores (ACT or SAT), class rank and other factors. Students in high school or even middle school who have a desire to attend college can begin looking into the selectivity for the college(s) they are interested in. Also, they can begin preparing to take the steps to excel in these areas to position themselves for admission to the college(s) of their choice.

Great academic accomplishments like the grade point average, class rank and high standardized test scores do not guarantee admissions to all universities, especially the selective, and highly selective universities. Other factors are taken into consideration for admission to highly selective colleges.

To begin planning for college, find out the selectivity level for the college, prepare academically according to the standards of admission and plan to work on the other factors such as extra-curricular activities and community service.

Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development programs can provide additional extra-curricular activities and community service opportunities that could help make your admissions application stronger.

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