A newly-released survey conducted by the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), in which members were asked what criteria they find are most important in colleges’ admission decisions, revealed that “a demonstration of character and values” is now in the top 10 criteria.

The IECA points out that character, as a discreet factor, had largely disappeared from admission decisions over the last 20 years, but it is making a resurgence. Among the reasons for the resurgence is that colleges correlate good character and strong values among the student body with a positive campus environment.

The implication for parents of high school and middle school students is twofold. First, exposure to a proven character development program, such as SuperCamp’s 8 Keys of Excellence, benefits every young person, particularly during their formative teen and pre-teen years. Second, intimate knowledge and use of a character development program can be leveraged effectively during the college admissions process, including their college admission essay.

Further to this second point, the IECA survey indicates that in answer to the question, What’s the single most important aspect of the application essay?, an overwhelming 93% of IECA members responded with “Providing  insight into student’s personality, values and goals.” The IECA says that the essay is less about perfect grammar and more about helping an admission officer understand who you really are by providing insight into your personality. This helps explain why SuperCamp grads have had success choosing their SuperCamp experience as the topic for their college admission essays.

Other top criteria in colleges’ admission decisions include a rigorous curriculum, strong grades, and high standardized test scores. Again, parents can look to SuperCamp for help. The learning skills students acquire at SuperCamp help them in all subject areas. The effective study and test-taking skills they gain enable students to manage a rigorous curriculum and perform better on their standardized tests.

Another interesting survey response among IECA members is that 88 percent of respondents say that colleges want to see students challenge themselves with rigorous classes even if their GPA falls a bit. The work SuperCamp does with students in the areas of building their confidence, inspiring their goal setting and instilling self-motivation in them all contributes to a student’s desire and ability to take on a stimulating and more challenging course load.

Strong counselor and teacher recommendations climbed in the IECA’s criteria ranking from number 10 to 6, indicating a growing importance of distinctive, personalized references. In addition to the aforementioned benefits that students who attend SuperCamp receive, another value is the communication strategies and techniques they obtain. As a result, SuperCamp grads are better able to build solid relationships with teachers and counselors through their enhanced communication skills, as well as their visible enthusiasm for school and becoming their best self.

The IECA is made up of professionals who assist students and families with educational decision making, including helping students choose schools, colleges or programs that meet their individual needs and goals. Over SuperCamp’s 37 years of helping prepare students for academic and personal success, countless families have been referred to SuperCamp by IECA members.