Getting accepted to top notch colleges is a very competitive process. This year Harvard alone received 37,307 applications, out of which only 2,080 applicants were admitted. Gaining admission to the best colleges requires preparation. A college application allows candidates to present themselves in the best possible light. Most colleges use similar criteria as they select their incoming freshman class. The key to increasing the possibilities of matriculating to these colleges is to prepare high school students by developing an educational plan that will allow them to be competitive. This is an endeavor that must be taken by both parents and students.
Identifying entrance and application requirements early is essential. Keep in mind that meeting entrance requirements does not guarantee an acceptance, but does add a competitive edge. Identifying the level of selectivity of prospective colleges will add perspective and urgency during the multiple stages of preparation.
There are 10 things that should be targeted during high school.
- A rigorous high school curriculum. Colleges compare the list of advanced level courses offered at the school each applicant attends to the courses listed on each transcript.
- Grade point average (GPA). Grades that represent strong effort in a rigorous program and an upward trend.
- Solid scores on standardized tests (SAT/ACT).
- A well written essay that provides insight into the student’s personality, values, and goals.
- Passionate involvement in activities in and out of school.
- Demonstrated leadership and initiative in extra-curricular activities.
- Letters of recommendation from teachers and guidance counselors that include specific evidence of integrity, special skills, positive character traits, and an interest in learning.
- Special talents or experiences that will contribute to an interesting and diverse student body.
- Demonstrated intellectual curiosity through reading, school and leisure pursuits.
- Demonstrated enthusiasm, often exhibited by campus visits and an interview, showing an interest toward attending the college.
Aside from the above mentioned points, top colleges look for unique students that stand out from the competition. These students should be able to show a positive character, the ability to manage time, make sacrifices, and set priorities. It is also important that applicants show independence and an interest in the unique advantages offered by colleges. Being able to handle academic pressure and taking advantage of the resources offered are key elements that top colleges consider in deciding whether to accept an applicant. Additionally, having the potential to make positive contributions to campus living is imperative to gaining admission into a top college.
Remember, when applying to colleges, don’t merely tell them what you think they want to hear. Instead, show them, illustrating with specific examples from your past, your unique character and experiences. Additionally, explain what those experiences meant to you and how they have shaped your outlook in life. When explaining past accomplishments, don’t just list them; you should also outline the motivations behind these accomplishments. Colleges will infer that your future behavior and values will follow from your past experiences and actions.
Application requirements vary and preparing early will lead to the best results. College Bound specializes in customizing pathways for students and parents because strong qualifications are developed over time. Investing in your children now will lead to quality opportunities in the future.