Getting Into a Great School

college admissions process

As a high school student, only you can control which schools will accept your application. You have to work hard to achieve these goals. If you have excellent grades and great SAT / ACT scores, you can pretty much get into any college that you want. Some of these schools are more affordable than others and offer financial aid to help pay for educational costs. Here are some tips you can use if you are currently a high school student, or know a student that is getting ready for college. Before you look for schools, think about what you’d like to do for a career, and keep this in mind when you are choosing your major. Many people change their minds after the fact, but it’s highly recommended that you have some type of plan going in.  However, if you have a general idea but are not sure, you can pick a broad major that covers multiple disciplines.

1.)    ACT / SAT Preparation

A lot of this can be done on your own, but the best way to prepare for these standardized tests is to take a class or visit a reputable tutor. Simply throwing money in the direction of one of these programs isn’t enough. You need to be serious and committed to raising your scores, and only a true effort will help that. If you are simply attending this class before you are forced to or think it’s a good idea, it’s not going to help in the very least. Even if you are not the smartest person in the world, there are different tricks and tips that can help boost your score. So pay attention, take copious notes, and put in some work after hours practicing on your own. This class is simply a springboard that teaches you what you need to know and lets you know the areas that you should focus on. Learn the proper strategies and a good score will follow.

2.)    Good Grades Junior Year

When college admissions representatives look over college application, grades are one of the first things they see. You can be in all the clubs and extra-curricular organizations you want, but without the grades to back it up you will not be accepted to a high-level school. Many students do not realize this early enough. Every grade you receive from freshman year forward can impact your future. The most important time period is junior year, and if your grades have been on the lower side for your educational career, then it’s the perfect time to make changes and improve your marks. Any improvement you make will help your college application. Colleges get tens of thousands of applications for thousands of spots, and will heavy scrutinize every application. The sad fact is that if your grades are suffering you will likely be skipped over during the admissions process. It’s never too late until junior year. If you still continue to get bad grades after this point, you need to start looking at lower-level colleges that will accept someone with your academic portfolio. All is not lost, however, as many of these schools are excellent and provide great career opportunities for the right candidate.

3.)    Clubs and Volunteering

If you’ve worked on grades and improved your standardized test scores, another great way to strengthen your application is to volunteer your time and join interesting clubs / organizations. College admissions representatives rank these activities third in importance in college applications. Volunteering shows your commitment and highlights your time management skills. If you’re spending most of your free time helping others and your grades are good, it shows that you are spending every available minute making yourself better. Adding these to your college application can have a very strong impact.

4.)    Recommendation Letters

You should look back through your old contacts and chose a reference with some merit. Maybe it’s a successful alma mater of the college you are interested in, or an alma mater of a related institution. Choose these letters wisely, because they can have a substantial impact on your admission. Always pick people with verifiable credentials.

Getting into a good college comes down to how hard you are willing to work, and how much effort you are willing to expend. At the end of the day, you need to pick what is right for you.

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Matthew Welch

Matthew Welch is an SEO strategist, content marketer, blog manager, and sports enthusiast from Boston, MA with a collegiate background in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies from the University of Connecticut.

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