What Do Colleges Look For in An Application?

Application deadlines for all colleges are approaching soon; students should be aware of all entry requirements.

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Application deadlines for all colleges are approaching soon; students should be aware of all entry requirements.

Daniella Young, Staff Writer

There are many challenges that come with the decision to be a college student; however, these challenges can be overcome with a little planning and guidance.

According to Counselor Scott Olson, two of the main barriers that students encounter include selection of school and applying/meeting all the requirements.

“Some students automatically assume that they can’t get in,” said Olson.

According to Olson, the main components that colleges look for are:


  • GPA’s
  • SAT/ACT Scores
  • Class Rank
  • Difficulty of classes taken
Scott Olson works at his computer. Olson believes that anyone can have the goal of succeeding in college.

Even though these requirements can seem intimidating, Olson believes that students should dream big.

“Believe that a college level education can be a goal,” he said.

Olson believes that students should make a plan, get involved in programs and/or clubs that spark interest and get the best grades possible.

According to the Oregon State University office of Admissions, disqualifications usually only occur if the applicant has a subpar GPA, or an incomplete application.

In addition, the Oregon State office of admissions suggests that throughout the whole application, “(Students) should read the questions thoroughly before answering.”

Admission officers normally look for clear and thorough answers on the insight resume, which is a big part of the application.

Here is a list of the main components that local/state colleges look for in an application:  4 years of English and Math (Algebra 2 level or higher), 3 years of Social Studies and Science (Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Earth Science, and/or Physical Science are preferred courses) and 2 years of a foreign language.  Students need to remember that their grades in these course must be C- or better; D’s may count toward high school graduation but do not qualify for college admission.

Here are the specifics for each school listed:

Oregon State University:

-3.0+ (preferred) GPA

-February 1 (Application deadline)


University Of Oregon:

-January 15, 2018 (Application deadline)

-Average GPA: 3.58

-Application Essay


Portland State University:

-3.0+ GPA

-December 1(Application deadline)


Western Oregon University:

-3.0+ GPA (2.75–2.99 may apply with an ACT of 23 or SAT score of (1060 on old SAT or 1130 on new. Applicants may also need to submit an essay or recommendation letter.)


University Of Portland (Private School; tougher entry requirements)

-Average GPA: 3.65

-SAT average of 1193 (critical reading and math) & average ACT of 26

-January 15 (Application deadline)


Community Colleges:

Although Mt. Hood Community College and community colleges in general don’t have a GPA requirement, they do require students to take a test after which the college places students in classes that fit their preparedness for academic success.  Many students will take college-level courses from the beginning, but some will take “remedial” courses in order to become more prepared for true college-level classes.  Similarly, community colleges have much later application deadlines than 4-year schools.