Many students ask me what can give them a leg up when applying to college. The main things students focus on in high school are their GPA and ACT score. These are important, but students are often shocked to realize that colleges consider other things are well.
They like to see what classes you have taken. They know you have to take certain classes in order to graduate, but what did you do with those electives? Did you take classes that might relate to what you want to study? Did you challenge yourself with hard classes your senior year? Did you take any dual enrollment? They want to see that you can handle school in addition to other activities. That is partly why they want to know what clubs or organizations you were in and if you did community service. If you had to work a job while in high school that also shows you can handle more than just school work. They are interested in why you want to go to college and what you plan to do with your degree. When someone is intrinsically motivated to do something they often finish it and do a better job with it. Intrinsic motivation means internal or personal motivation.
These are the reasons that they ask some questions on the application that you didn’t expect to see. Often schools ask for a personal statement- they don’t usually call it that. Instead they may ask why you want to attend their school, who was the biggest influence in your life, what your biggest struggle in life was, or something similar. Having a personal statement and academic resume make it much easier to apply to