5 Personality Traits Of Kids Who Get Into Good Colleges

Instead of focusing on test scores, you might need to self-examine.

Unique girl who’s passionate about her special interests Lisay, Billion Photos, Nuuillustrations, shironosov | Canva 

Figuring out how to get into a good college has never been more challenging. The application process feels so competitive the chances of being accepted at the school of your choice are increasingly more often difficult to reach.

It is possible to get into the college of your dreams, however, especially with some keen insight into the personality traits universities view as the most likely to indicate you'll be a successful student during your years spent on their campus.


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Here are 5 personality traits of kids most likely to get into good colleges:

1. Self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses

Self-aware people have an advantage over others in their quest to get into college because they know who they are in the world. They know what they want and how to get there. They know their strengths and weaknesses. They know what they bring to a group. A self-aware person can identify the perfect school for them and the steps to get accepted to the school.

The good news is it’s never too late to become self-aware. To begin, take an inventory of what you want in the world. If you don’t know, consider using some online self-assessment tools. What Color is Your Parachute? for Teens is an excellent place to start. Getting to know yourself is the best way to get accepted to the right college.


successful graduates ready for the next step

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2. Ambition to do the work

If you want to go to college, you must authentically want to go to college. That may seem obvious, but hear me out. With the amount of competition for your space at the college of your dreams, you must have the ambition to get there.


The basic definition of ambition is "an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment." If you want to go to college, you must decide right now you can and will do the work necessary to get you there. You can’t sit around doing work that is "good enough" and expect to get into whatever college you want. I can promise you many of your peers have already been working hard for years, knowing their ambition is necessary to get them into a good college when the time comes.

3. Persistence to overcome obstacles

If you want to get into college, you must be persistent, which means you continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or opposition. I knew exactly where I wanted to go when I applied to college. I barely had the grades to get in, but I knew my sparkling personality would help me overcome the issue.

I was persistent in getting in front of anyone who could influence the admission decision. I had my formal interview first, then wormed my way into another one a few months later when visiting the college with a friend. I then arranged an alumni interview so a third person could weigh in about what I was like. Yes, I got accepted. So, don’t give up on your efforts to get into the college of your dreams, no matter what obstacles are put in front of you!



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4. Community-minded to make a difference in the world

One vital personality trait for someone who wants to get into college is one many people miss — being community-minded. Yes, academic and athletic accomplishments are important, but so is demonstrating an eagerness to give back to your community.

Do you volunteer in your town? Do you mentor younger kids or Candy Stripe at the hospital or serve food at your local shelter? By working in your community, you demonstrate to the admissions council you are centered on your success and interested in serving the world as a whole. You are someone who will take their ambition and persistence and use it for good. If you aren't already, get out in your community and make a difference.

5. Creativity

While it might seem like getting into college is a linear process, there are twists, turns, and surprises along the way. Looking good on paper is not the only thing you need to get into college. Someone who is a creative thinker looks at a situation from many angles and figures out the best way to handle it. For example, my daughter didn’t take any AP courses because she didn’t like the format. She didn’t like having to study to take a test. She wanted to learn, discuss, debate, and explore nuances. When it was time to apply to colleges, she decided to explain to the admissions committee why she didn’t take those classes because not having taken them made her seem less ambitious.

As a creative thinker, she explained to the committee why she chose the classes she took. She wanted to learn more and be more challenged. Guess what? The committee loved how she thought outside of the box and wanted to learn more than she wanted to pass a test to get college credits. My daughter has since graduated from NYU.


Use your creative thinking to set yourself apart. Being another cookie-cutter student won't get you into the college of your dreams. Positioning yourself creatively will! A good education can change your life. Getting it to the right college for you will make the change even more profound.



Do some self-examination right now. Are you self-aware, ambitious, persistent, community-minded, and creative? If those personality traits aren’t part of your nature, consider working on honing them more. It will give you a leg up over your competitors. Good luck! You can do this!

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Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them be all they want to be. Mitzi's bylines have appeared in The Good Men Project, MSN, PopSugar, Prevention, Huffington Post, and Psych Central, among many others.