Getting Into Your Dream College: What You Need to Know
As cliche as it sounds, college is one of the key decisions you will make in your life. It requires a lot of planning and consideration and can either help or hinder you from achieving your dreams. Knowing where you want to go is one thing, but getting in is an obstacle in itself. While there isn’t any sure-fire way for you to get into the school of your dreams, here are some tips to help you increase your odds:
Don’t Just Choose One School
It’s good to have that one school that you’ve dreamt about since you were a child, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Aiming and applying for only one university can be a big risk and get in the way of your education if you don’t make it in. Since you never know how things may end up, be prepared and choose 2 more schools that serve as your backups. Don’t let this hinder you from aiming for your dream campus because more than 94% of freshmen end up in their top choice.
If you apply for at least 3 schools of your choice, you’re more likely to get into at least one of them.
Be Sure that Your Choice is Right for You
One mistake that students make before entering college is choosing a school for the wrong reasons. Some students choose a certain campus based on the opinions of people around them. This isn’t the way to go: choose a campus that will make you happy. That goes for your course of study too. When you make big decisions based on other people’s values and opinions, chances are you’ll regret it later on.
This is often the reason why college students tend to change majors. To avoid wasting time and money, choose a college and program that leads to a career you want to pursue.
Take Your Academics Seriously
The courses you take and the grades you get in high school matter a lot when applying to your dream school. Oftentimes, a student’s academic performance in high school predicts their academic success in college. Show college admission committees that you’re dedicated to learning by taking enough AP (advanced placement) classes in your strongest subjects. AP classes come with many benefits such as boosting your GPA and familiarizing you with college-level work.
Get Involved in Extracurricular Activities
College admissions committees want to see that you’re not just book-smart. Getting involved in extracurricular activities both inside and outside of school is a good way to show how you contribute to your community and your school. However, don’t just join any club or organization just because it would look good on paper; involve yourself in something that you’re passionate about.
Whether it’s helping out your local animal shelter or being part of the event organizing committee at school, pursue activities that are meaningful to you.
Check Your Social Media
Many colleges assign admission officers the task of checking an applicant’s online presence for any red flags. Check your social media accounts and make sure that you don’t have any content that could discourage college from considering your application.
Show Your Interest
Show that you’re genuinely interested in getting into your dream school by scheduling an appointment with a member of the admissions staff or planning a campus visit. Try to network and get in contact with current students, alumni, or professors in your expected major. This will help you get an idea of how the school system and culture works.
College applications are usually a confusing and, at times, lengthy process. You don’t need to suffer by yourself. While you’re in the process of researching colleges, choosing your major, and preparing your application, seek out advice from people who know about the application process. You can ask a sibling who has already finished their college education, guidance counselors, teachers, parents, or anyone who can help you make sense of the application process and help answer any questions you might have.
Make Your Application Perfect
Stand out from other applicants by sending in your application way before the deadline. This shows your enthusiasm towards the school as well as your sense of responsibility. Before sending in your application, however, make sure to proofread it and include a letter of recommendation from adults that know you inside and out and can speak to your talents and abilities.
Also, ask your recommendation writer to include their resume for the admission committee’s reference. Once you’ve got all your documents ready, go ahead and send in that application.
It’s important to just do your best while you’re in high school and during the whole college application process, interview included. If you did everything you could and didn’t get into your dream school, it isn’t the end of the world. Remember that there are many factors that college admission committees consider when going through applications. College is just the beginning of your journey, and who knows? You might end up falling in love with your second or even third-choice school.