10 Secrets to Getting into the College of Your Choice

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Many people go through life without particular goals and ambitions. But there are also those who know exactly what they want and are ready to work hard for it and go the extra mile. One of these things might be getting into the college of their choice. There is no doubt that this process is both daunting and stressful, but at the same time, it can also be fun and exciting if you approach it as a challenge and believe in yourself. However, in order for your efforts to be worthwhile, you have to know a thing or two about the application process and what you can do to boost your chances. To give you a good start on your journey to your dream college, here are a few tips that will help you along the way.

1. Grades ARE important
People often say that grades are not important and they do not necessarily reflect your knowledge, but the truth is that for a successful college application, your grades ARE going to be very important. Your GPA, as well as test scores, will all play a role in getting you accepted, so the best time to start working on bettering them is yesterday. Study hard and try to get the best possible grades during all four years of your high school studies. It is also recommended that you take academically rigorous classes (honours, AP, etc.) as much as you can as they will weigh in when the time comes.

2. Start early
Just as you should be thinking about improving your GPA early, you should also begin your search for your ideal college early on so that you have ample time to do all the necessary research and preparations. Starting your search at the beginning of your junior year is a good idea. This way, you will still have plenty of time to adjust your approaches to the requirements of that particular college. It will also make the whole ordeal somewhat less stressful, so it’s in your best interest.

3. Play it smart
The SAT is notorious for being rather difficult, so start preparing for it well in advance and make sure you utilize all the free learning materials that are all over the internet. You can also enrol in courses that will help you master it better or you can also turn to tutors who will provide you with useful advice. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the test by reading study guides and doing practice tests.

4. Do it twice
You can maximize your test scores even more if you decide to take it more than once. If you feel like you did not do as well as you could have on your SAT, you can take it again! In addition, you also have the option of taking the ACT. Both of these tests are eligible for college admissions, and who knows, one of them might fit your style better than the other and you might end up with much better results. What is important to know is that one poorly written SAT will not necessarily ruin your chances with your dream college; where there’s a will, there’s a way.

5. Sort out your English
If your mother tongue is not English and the college you are aiming for requires you to provide evidence of your language proficiency, it will also be necessary to take an English language proficiency test. There are lots of variants of this one too so you will first need to determine which exam would fit you best. Different colleges have different minimum requirements for different tests, so your best bet is checking the information related to your particular college. If you are not entirely confident in passing this test, you can also enrol in an IELTS preparation course where you will get all the help you need.

6. Get the most out of your recommendations
Recommendations are also an important part of the admission process, so you want to get the most out of them. How you can do that is, thankfully, quite simple: you have to find the right person. Think about which teacher knows you well and which teacher you would trust to speak about you. Even if you’ve got someone on your mind, make sure that you provide the person with all the possible information they might need to write a great recommendation. Collect all the writing guidelines that might be necessary, put together a list of your academic achievements that might be relevant for their recommendation, provide them with an ample amount of appropriate data to work with and you will have nothing to worry about.

7. Work on your essay
Perhaps the part of the application process many candidates dread the most is the essay. For those who do not have a natural inclination for writing, coming up with a great essay that will prove their worth might be a real challenge. So, here too, starting on time is essential. You can start by simply entering essay contests throughout your high school years in order to practice and find your style that will be very important in your admission essay. You will want to sound professional while still having a personal edge in order to distinguish yourself, which takes quite a bit of practice. It’s also a good idea to consult someone with your drafts and seek their advice.

8. The power of legacy
If you feel like your application process is not going that well, you can still improve your chances in various ways. For instance, applying to your alma mater, if possible, can give a great boost thanks to the legacy advantage. So, if any of your parents or grandparents attended one of the colleges you have been considering applying to, keep this in mind as it might just come in handy.

9. Have a clean reputation
With the development of technology, today, it is easier than ever to look someone up on the internet. So this is exactly what you should do with your own name before you begin the whole application process. If you can find your social media profiles with a quick Google search, chances are other people can too, so it is in your best interest to go through those profiles and delete anything that might not make you appear in the best light possible. You always want to appear professional, use a professional email address and have your social media sites reflect the best sides of you.

10. Be involved
Last but not least, the final advice for today is: be involved. Be it about academic work and contests, being active in your local community, participating in extracurricular activities such as sports, drama clubs, being a part of a debate team or even a member of the student council, colleges like students who are active and driven, and there is no better way to show this than by being involved in lots of things that go on around you. So, make sure that you take opportunities when you are presented with them and gain as much valuable experience as possible. Things such as foreign exchange programs, volunteer work and the like all show that you are interested and ready to take on challenges. And these experiences will help you way beyond your college admission, too.

As you can see, the path to getting admitted to your college of choice is long and rough, but for those who are determined and are willing to work hard, it is not impossible. Right now, what’s most important is that you start informing yourself on time and the rest will flow naturally.

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