It’s the age-old question: What are colleges REALLY looking for in an application?

We’re about to spill all of the secrets.

You see, as college admissions counselors, we have many responsibilities. Some days we get to travel around and visit high schools. Other days we get to review applications and make congratulatory acceptance calls. And honestly, there are the days when we listen to your mom cry on the phone about the looming inevitability of you leaving home to go off to college. Trust me – it happens.

Contrary to what you might think, we’re not stone-cold robots who read through your application with our hand hovering over a big red glowing DENY button. We’re humans, too, just like you. Honestly, we probably want to hit that admit button more than you might think because, to us, there is nothing greater than welcoming a new member to the Bruin family.

Actually, I changed my mind, there is one thing greater. It’s seeing you graduate with your degree from George Fox University – that is the end goal.

You see, part of the university’s vision is to empower students to achieve exceptional life outcomes. This starts from the very beginning. When reviewing an application, as counselors we ask ourselves, “Would this student be successful here at George Fox, right now?” If we can confidently say, “Yes, absolutely they are ready,” well then cue the Celebrate Good Times song and let’s press that admit button!

If there are some red flags or we really just don’t have enough information to make a clear decision, we’ll reach out to you so we can get to know you a little better before making any decisions. At the end of the day, your success here is our most important objective, and we are in your corner rooting for you always.


With all that in mind, let’s get to the nitty-gritty: What are we looking for in your college application? 

  1. We want to see that you will be “Bruin material”a great addition to a thriving George Fox community.
  2. We want to see that you are academically ready to be successful here at George Fox right now.

 So let’s break these down a little bit further …

 ‘Bruin Material’

To be totally honest, there isn’t an exact science or rubric for determining this. But it is super important to us.

We believe George Fox University is a really special place, and when you ask people why they choose to come here, nine out of 10 times they are going to say because of the people. And as admissions counselors, our hope is that this continues to be the overwhelming response.

We want you to feel excited at the guarantee of your professor knowing your name and your story, and you knowing theirs.

We want you to understand what attending a faith-based university means and what a Christian education looks like.

We want you to thrive personally, academically, and spiritually.

We want you to come to the end of your college journey and have a diverse skill set and perspective to launch you into all that God is calling you to.

We want you to love and respect and engage in the community, just like if it was your home. Because, fun fact, after a while you will probably start to refer to this place as your second home.

Our campus is a place where students from all over the world, with all sorts of different backgrounds and perspectives, goals and dreams, get to gather and live life with one another. Whether you are celebrating on mountaintops or stumbling through the valleys, Bruins stand tall and stick together.


 Academically Ready

When it comes to academics, your transcript is key. Ideally, your transcript would have a cumulative GPA of a 3.0 or higher, core courses (not 700 PE classes), an increasing or consistent grade trend, and if there are advanced or college-level courses, that’s great (but not required)! That’s it! Some colleges want you to have X-number of years of math or X-number of years of foreign language, but not us. We say that as long as you are meeting your high school graduation requirements, then you are meeting our course requirements for admissions.

Many of you also ask about test scores – SAT, ACT, CLT, you name it. They are not required for our application process. While tests can be a good tool, we believe that a high school transcript that reflects years of your academic experience is better. Plus, none of our scholarships are linked to test scores, so you’re not missing out on any extra money!

We also understand that life happens. Maybe transitioning from middle school to high school was a wake-up call, a family member got really sick, your best friend moved away, your parents divorced, or you had some raging anxiety to work through. We get that that life happens, and it can have an impact on your academic performance.

Your transcript is just a black and white piece of paper, but you are so much more than that. That’s why in the “academic history” page on our application, you have an opportunity to share more about your story. Remember, the more information we as admissions counselors are provided, the more holistically we can review your application.

So there you have it – the college admissions process. It can be exciting, overwhelming, or give you all the feels, but you don’t have to do it alone. Your admissions counselor is here to help! Schedule a phone or virtual meeting, and we can chat through the process. Better yet, visit campus! We offer both in-person and virtual options, and would love to show you around. 

Looking forward to reviewing your application soon!

Photo of Sydney Frank

Sydney Frank


Admissions counselor and George Fox alum, Sydney is a self proclaimed: roadtrip junkie, enneagram 9, and popcorn connoisseur. When she's not out on the open road, you can find her hunting for vinyl records with her husband or cuddled up taking a nap.

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