While there is a great deal of emphasis on grade point average (GPA) and test scores, there are other factors that are important to most colleges. One of those important factors is character. Colleges would like to know what kind of campus citizen they are inviting to live on their campus.
This year in particular, I have seen character weigh more heavily in admission decisions. Character is expressed in the extracurricular resume of a student and in what they write about in college admission applications. It is also expressed in their teacher and counselor recommendations, online presence and their volunteer life.
Students should do their best academically and attempt a reasonable amount of academic rigor for their skill level. They should also attempt college admission tests more than once in most cases. A third rail on their preparation for college needs to be involvement in extracurriculars, volunteering, leadership and thoughtful responses to essay questions when they apply for admission.