Photo courtesy Mormon Newsroom; photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU PHOTO
The Wilkinson Student Center is the central hub of BYU’s campus. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

For many youth in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, attending Brigham Young University is a great option for higher education. The school is not only a well-respected academic institution, but is also known for its wholesome environment and advantageous affiliation with the Church (tuition is subsidized by tithing funds, making the cost difficult to beat).

But with an acceptance rate hovering around 50 percent, half of all applicants will find themselves heading elsewhere for school.

No particular ACT score or GPA guarantees admission, and the admissions committee takes many factors into consideration when reviewing an application. However, a 2015 new freshman profile states that extracurricular activities and awards are “a significant part of (the) holistic admission review.” It also reveals that most new freshman have some extracurricular activities in common. Here are five activities and awards that will help the high schooler in your life increase their chances of acceptance to BYU.

1. Four-year seminary graduates (96.2 percent of new freshmen)

At BYU, students take religion courses as part of their academic requirements. For students who have graduated from the Church’s four-year seminary course, these classes will feel like a normal part of the school day (even if having them after 6 a.m. feels odd to early-morning seminary graduates).

2. Duty to God or Young Women Recognition (82.4 percent of new freshmen)

Since most students (98.7 percent) at the university are LDS, it might not come as a surprise that many of its incoming students earned Duty to God or Young Women Recognition awards in high school. These programs teach youth goal-setting and follow through, which are advantageous character traits in a university setting.

3. Employment during high school (80.6 percent of new freshmen)

The work ethic gained from holding a job during high school is not undervalued to the BYU admissions committee. Four in five of the approximately 7,000 students who started at BYU this fall held jobs during high school.

4. Performing arts (78.8 percent of new freshmen)

More than three-fourths of the freshmen at BYU participated in some sort of performing arts program in high school, even if they didn’t choose a performance-related major. Performing arts teach the value of practice, preparation and presentation, all of which come in handy in academic and professional situations.

5. High school sports (71.1 percent of new freshmen)

Seven in 10 BYU freshman participated in high school sports, suggesting that many applicants participated in both the performing arts and athletics during high school. When it comes to college applications, a well-rounded activities repertoire that showcases a variety of interests and skills makes a candidate appealing.

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