How US Universities Screen Applications

What do US universities look for in students while screening applications?

How US Universities Screen Applications

Do You Know What Will They Look For in You?

Are you planning to apply to a US university? It will help you know a few facts about what they exactly look for in an application. Here is a short article on how US universities screen applications.

There always have been various opinions on what exactly universities look in students while they are screening applications. It’s a question of great debate. Many opine that most universities look for grades which sometimes seem unfair. However, this trend is now slowly changing. Many universities are now looking beyond just grades. They look at the overall strengths of the students, their ‘soft-skills’, their enthusiasm and keenness over the subject applied for etc.

Here are some guidelines as to what US universities look for in students while screening applications and exactly how US universities screen applications:

  1. Academic ability and potential – Although this may have taken a back seat, this criteria cannot be completely eliminated in screening applications.
  2. Passion for the course applied for – As much as Universities look for academic abilities, they also look for students who are genuinely interested in the course they have applied for. They would rather give seats to more deserving students than those who may not be so keen in the subject.
  3. Motivation and Focus – They look for students who are self-disciplined, motivated and committed towards what they want, how focused are they for their future and career.
  4. Admission tests and Interviews – Scoring in this admission tests or essays helps the University to know the overall personality of the students through their writing capabilities, ability to reason, their attitude towards life etc. So it is not the score that they are looking for but this is to know more about the student’s nature.
  5. Letter of recommendation – Some colleges ask for this as it’s a great way to know more about the student and the student can develop professional relationships.


Many Universities now have added a lot of personal data in their application forms along with their academic qualifications and scores. This enables them to know more about the students beyond their academic abilities and helps them to screen them based on other categories too. However without being biased, overall most universities will give admissions to students who have:

–   Good in academics

–   Best suited or deserving for the course that they have opted for

–   Passion and Focus

–   Overall good at extracurricular activities or talents outside studies helping them develop their personalities

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