Colleges want students who are intellectually curious and altruistic and who want to grow. They are also looking for students who are grounded, welcome a challenge and have a reasonable chance of success at their institution. Having a good work ethic and evidence of playing (and studying) well with others are also a plus. In addition to all of those things, colleges want students who want to be at their institution to study a major that they offer.
Each prospective admissions candidate has many of these attributes but in different levels of personality and skill development. Colleges differ in the emphasis they put on these characteristics. The best fit for a student headed to college are colleges that look for students who are compatible with who the student is now and who can help the student become the professional the student wants to become in the future. Those factors and the current skill level of the student today are a recipe for college success.
What colleges seek are important attributes to college success. There are other qualities that help students succeed in college including assertiveness, determination and good problem solving skills. Adaptability is another key ability of students who acclimate easily to college and are able to develop new behaviors needed for success in their field.
Students preparing for college should take personal inventory of these skills and attributes and consider where they are in their development. Armed with this knowledge, they can further develop areas that need more advancement and also consider their skills when they attend college tours and listen as colleges describe the students who benefit best from the program at each college.