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Are grades/test scores the most important variables in gaining acceptance to a top-tier college?

The answer has resoundingly become no. In some ways college admissions can be viewed through the lens of economics or business. There is a huge supply of students with solid grades and SAT/ACT scores. There is also a huge demand for being admitted into a top-tier college. So the tricky part is coming up with ideas that are "outside the box." I believe that the supply of students, who can impress and "wow" an audience, needs to increase in order to be as competitive as possible. How one wins over an audience is through a personal story, an impressive resume, letters of recommendation that leave the readers wanting to learn more, and experiences that are quite different than the norm (what might this be?). As emphasized before, constant discussion and critical thinking about college admissions is hugely important, so please get a jump start on this!