Survey: Colleges Consider Student Character Traits in Admission Decisions

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Character counts when it comes to college admission, according to new data from the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and the Character Collaborative.

In a recent national survey, 70 percent of admission officers said a student’s character attributes were either “considerably” or “moderately” important in the selection process at their respective institutions.

The findings, along with data showing that more than half of US secondary schools have formal character development programs, are included in a new NACAC research brief — Character and the College Admission Process.

“Our data makes it abundantly clear: College admission professionals recognize the value of empathy, resilience, honesty, and other attributes in assessing applicants and shaping their classes,” NACAC CEO Joyce Smith said in a press release. “While further research is needed to more thoroughly explore the various ways colleges gauge a student’s character, we now know such factors commonly play a role in admission decisions. And we also know that secondary schools are taking steps to foster positive character traits among the students they serve.”

Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.

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