GPAs, test scores and activities never tell the full story of a student. There are lots of kids with perfect grades who don't particularly like to learn. Plenty of intelligent kids have average test scores. And a student who does 200 hours of community service at a hospital because his parents forced him to do it isn't quite the philanthropist his resume makes him out to be.
That's why a student's future success is based far more on personal factors like attitude, work-ethic, and initiative than it is on any one piece of information on a college application.
I'm not sure that you can force kids to adopt any particular personal characteristics. But you can encourage them and show them the way. So we're trying to do that with our Collegewise Student Manifesto. These are the kinds of behaviors and attitudes that we encourage from our students. They also are the very same characteristics colleges love to see in applicants. Kids who embrace them have more fufillng high school lives and more successful college application processes. Those are the Collegewise kids.
These ideas aren't just for kids in our Collegewise program–I think any student who wants to take a more productive and enjoyable approach to college admissions can gain something from this. So feel free to share or repost it if you think your students would benefit.