GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — This is the time of year when high school students are filling out those college applications, hoping to get accepted to the college of their choice.

The process has changed over the past year, mostly because of the pandemic. Neha Gupta, founder of College Shortcuts, says colleges are looking beyond test scores and good grades and focusing on the student as a whole.

She says the essay is more important than ever, because it’s where a student can talk about who they are and what they want to study. Gupta says they should focus on being authentic and dig deep to share their story and why they think that school is a good fit for them.

“Schools, specifically colleges and universities, are going to be looking at students based on their soft skills. Who are they? What do they stand for? What are their essays about? And what is their unique angle?” Gupta said. “No longer are they looking for the well-rounded student. They’re actually looking for the student that’s very clear about what they want to do and how they fit at that university.”

Students should consider a number of factors when it comes to picking a school, including size, location, academic and social life on campus.