The transition from high school to college is undoubtedly a challenging process. A recent Survey of University Admissions Officers, commissioned by ACS International Schools, underscored some of the top qualities that universities look for in students. Here’s a closer look at these qualities:

  1. Ability to learn independently

    Independent learning is an important quality as students are required to grasp information in an advanced classroom setting. Independent learning fosters primary interpersonal skills such as time management, communication skills, and more. Not just that, students can also develop secondary life skills – from planning and creating priority lists to meeting deadlines – which are extremely important as they move ahead.

  2. High perseverance and ability to complete tasks

    Commitment and determination are two criteria that university admissions officers search for in applicants. Often, universities are on the lookout for students who take things seriously and understand their courses thoroughly. Besides that, taking up extra roles during high school, such as being part of the sports team or holding a leadership position in a committee, adds to the quality of your personal statement.

  3. A curious and inquiring mind

    A similar survey by ACS International Schools has concluded that 91% of university admissions officers seek inquisitiveness in students when they are browsing through the applications. The trait of taking the initiative outside the classroom to get clarity on a certain subject matter is a good example of positive attitude towards one’s studies. This is what convinces the officers about your interest in a particular course.

  4. A team player

    At higher education institutions, you will also learn the importance of being a skillful team player, as most of the tasks require team work. This is also why 73% of university admissions officers look for the applicant’s ability to cooperate and work well in groups. Therefore, it is important to maintain active involvement in sports, clubs or leadership when you are in high school as it can help you secure your spot in your university of interest.

  5. Good written and spoken English

    Ensure that your application and personal statement have no grammar mistakes, are free of spelling errors and, most importantly, sound sensible. The slightest mistake found in your application may indicate lack of attention and care. At the same time, do brush up on your speaking skills as well. As some universities may require an admissions interview, it would be good to show that you are able to communicate confidently and effectively verbally.

In addition to this, the unique ScholarShift® program at Shattuck-St. Mary’s Forest City International School in Johor intends to prepare high school students for their transition to college or university. Besides forging independence and self-directed learning in students, the program also encourages proficiency in 21st Century skills that will be useful for college and beyond.

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