By now, you have probably heard about the recent college admissions scandal. Several high-profile celebrities, among others, were caught paying thousands of dollars in order to bribe college officials into accepting their children. This situation is embarrassing for all concerned, and carries the potential of jail time for some. Obviously this is not the right way to get into college!
So, what is the “right” way? Nothing is ever guaranteed, of course, but we definitely recommend…
Hard work. It’s a classic, but tends to be very reliable. Studying hard throughout high school, staying on task, and earning high grades never hurt anyone’s chances at college admissions.
Prepare for standardized tests. Aside from a solid GPA, you can demonstrate your college readiness with high scores on the ACT or SAT. These tests measure not only what you have learned, but also your ability to reason and make decisions under pressure. A test preparation course helps you understand the exam procedures, and learn tips to improve your scores.
Polish your writing skills. Solid writing skills help you earn better grades, ace tests that require an written portion, and craft better college entrance essays. Once you’re admitted to a university, your writing can even earn you scholarships to help pay the tuition bill. And of course, you will only lean more heavily upon this skill as you progress through your college career.
Balance your act. Some schools, especially the more competitive ones, aren’t just looking for smart students with good grades. They want a diverse student body, so balance all of that studying with a few extracurricular activities. Choose clubs, sports, or volunteer activities about which you feel truly passionate. Your choices reflect your character.
Watch out for deadlines. Even the best student will be denied if he or she misses the application deadline! After all of this hard work, you have one final task: Keep track of the deadlines for each of your top choice schools, and make sure to send those applications in a timely manner. Then, follow up with secondary deadlines, like those for financial aid, housing, and so on, to ensure that your freshman year experience is everything you hoped it would be.