If someone were to ask you what colleges look for from applicants, the first thoughts that might come to your mind are, “ACT/SAT scores, GPAs, and extracurricular activities.”

Many colleges are now taking a more holistic approach to admission. For example Davidson College has an average acceptance rate of 20% and most accepted applicants have high ACT and GPA scores. Recently, Davidson accepted an applicant with a 25 ACT and a record of As and Bs–far below the average for the college.

The reason why? The university realized that this applicant was raised by a single mother and spent considerable time taking care of her six year old brother on top of balancing school and extracurricular activities. Davidson College realized that other aspects, activities, and skills contributed to a successful student, not just test scores.