Why Building Character is Important for College Acceptance

Melanie Falconer
Melanie Falconer

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High school is competitive. It’s easy to get caught up in increasing your “status” as a student. How do you get that extra 10 points on your in-class exam? What do you need to do, to compete to win that glossy gold medal? How do you shine in the view of your peers and teachers so that one day, when you apply to college, they’ll snap you up in a blink? These are valid questions — but not the only ones you should be asking yourself. Another thing that parents and students overlook when building a college resume is character. Let’s discuss a few reasons why building character is so important, and the top three key traits to focus on throughout high school.

Now, character isn’t just one of the most important things a college looks at when considering application, but easily the most important thing in life. In fact, the prestigious reputation of the highest ranked universities rides on the good deeds, resilience, and dedication of their students and professors who work tirelessly to better their field and communities. When people fail to meet these expectations, it can hurt the school’s reputation.

Here are the three most important qualities schools consider and how you can work on them in your school and community.

1. Responsibility

They say with more freedom comes more responsibility (Spiderman, anybody?). We live in United States, a free country, and this saying couldn’t be anymore true. Sadly, many people don’t take advantage of this freedom to do good for others. Maybe that’s because we’re never taught what it really means.

Responsibility is the ability to respond. When we talk about this in the context of what students can do, this means the ability to respond to the needs and troubles in our community. If a student sees that there is no debate team and they have an interest in rhetoric, they may take it upon themselves to make one. If the theater department’s budget gets cut, maybe they start organizing an annual fundraiser. Universities want students who can do things like that for them–students who take responsibility, not shy away from it.

2. Resourcefulness

Being resourceful means finding clever solutions to overcome difficulties. Being resourceful can mean something very different for students from different backgrounds. This is because the problems may vary — some students have have many difficulties they face and others may have very few.

For a student who comes from adversity, they may have found unique solutions to their personal struggles. If the student had a difficult life, perhaps they used creative projects as an outlet. If they struggle with some kind of learning disability, maybe they were able to create an effective study system that allowed them to improve in school. For students who don’t face many personal struggles, maybe they look for solutions in their outside communities.

3. Resilience

Resilience is the ability to endure hardship. It is what allows us all to struggle and overcome and become better people because of it. Universities don’t want students who won’t grow from the experience of attending their school. They want students who thrive from challenges. Admissions officers want students who hunger for a frustrating problem to solve. And all colleges want students who know that life will beat them up a bit, but that they will come out of it as better people. This is an exceptional quality that no one is exactly born with — but if you challenge yourself, you may surprise yourself by the result.

Are you looking for more guidance like this? A college counselor isn’t just there to write a letter of recommendation and sign off on your class schedule once a year. A good leader and mentor figure should also support your personal growth. And yes, that includes encouraging you to continue building character! Reach out today to connect with an Empowerly expert and learn more about our approach to help students succeed.

Questions? Let us know!