There are many different parts of a college application that need to be considered when applying for schools. There is the application itself, including the essays, which students either love or dread. There is also the interview and recommendations from counselors and teachers to consider. This makes many students wonder which part(s) of the application are most important, and given the most weight by schools.
The simple, hard truth is that nothing matters more to admissions officers than grades earned in college preparatory courses. Second to that in importance is the difficulty of the courses you have taken in high school.
So, if you really want the best chance of getting into the school of your choice, the best thing you can do for yourself is to earn good grades in college prep courses through your high school career. Grades in non-college prep courses are also vitally important, but most schools put a lot more emphasis on the harder courses.
You will also want to do well on your SAT’s, which is also highly-weighted in the decision-making process by colleges. On the application itself, spend time with your essays, and let other people read them over as well. This is the most important part of the application itself on which to do well.
Surprisingly, interviews for colleges may not matter as much as you might believe. As long as you show up to an interview and do fairly well, your time there should not be a make-or-break event for your application.