College is a chapter of life that many young adults look forward to. Continuing with further education is now more common than ever and this is reflected in the massive number of applications that colleges receive each year. College is thought of as one of the best times of a person’s life. However, the lead-up to university is often heart-breaking for many students, especially those who don’t manage to secure a spot at their dream college.
Given that so many young people want to attend university, it is now harder than ever to meet the standards of top tier colleges. It seems almost impossible to meet all of the requirements that many of these institutions demand. However, more often than not, these admissions are based on simple math. If thousands of people are applying to the same colleges, the admission rates will be lower. Having said this, there is no need to give up all hope. If you dedicate enough time, hard work, and passion to your application you can make your dream college a reality.
First things first, you have to be realistic about what colleges you can apply to. If you know that you haven’t got the grades to apply to Harvard or Yale, then it’s best to cross these off the list. Just because a college is Ivy League doesn’t mean that it should be your dream college. When deciding which colleges to apply to, make a list of your priorities and what you are looking to gain from this experience.
If you are sure about what career you would like to embark on in the future, it could be a good idea to look at the highest-ranking institutions for a specific major. You may be surprised to see the results. You may not be as focused on academics and you may prioritize another aspect of college, such as sports. You could also prioritize location and want to look at colleges in a specific state. Everyone’s dream college is different, none are better than others. Just make sure you have a good mix of applications in the bag.
Although grades aren’t the only thing that colleges look for, they do play a very important part in determining whether or not you will be accepted. The most important academic scores that colleges will look at are your GPA (Grade Point Average) and your SAT scores. Therefore, it is important that you begin knuckling down at the beginning of high school not just when you have to take the SATs.
The National Association for College Admission Counselling revealed that nearly 81% of all colleges place a considerable influence on student grades when looking at applications. Try to really listen in class and push yourself to succeed. Don’t worry if you do feel like you need a bit of guidance, it doesn’t hurt to join a study group or hire a tutor. However, even with all of the help in the world, if you don’t put in the hard work whilst studying, it is unlikely that you’ll get the grades you want.
Extracurricular activities help show which students are well-rounded individuals. Colleges look for people who are unafraid to push themselves out of their comfort zones. Attending a premier education center, like Waterford school can help shape children’s character whilst stimulating intellect and passion. These types of schools focus more on providing a liberal arts education and try to balance high grades with worthwhile extra-curricular activities. However, there are many other ways you can show your non-academic capabilities. Even joining a local sports league will do wonders for your application.
Thankfully there is a skill to suit everyone, if you don’t know what yours is, don’t worry, keep looking and you will find it. Not everyone is sporty, some people may be musical, and others may be good at languages. You don’t have to be super skilled in one area, you could tackle a few and show versatility. You could even have a flair for entrepreneurship and decide to set up your own business.
A great idea to make your application stand out is to shadow a local business owner over the weekends. This way you can gain valuable career experience and demonstrate the kind of initiative that colleges find appealing. Similarly, helping out with a local charity or going abroad for a few months to learn a language are achievements that colleges look out for.
All of these activities show great determination and dedication. These are qualities that colleges look for in an applicant. You may have the same grades as countless other students who are applying, however, if you have a special skill, this could help you stand out from the rest of the crowd. Don’t forget to write a stellar college application essay. Your personal essay is your chance to tell your story and explain why you would be the perfect fit for this specific school, so don’t use the same one for every application.
One can only wish that colleges based their admissions on a specific set of requirements. The reality is that all colleges use a rubric of factors to decide who meets the standard and who does not. Not only this, but some years the standard of applications may be much higher than others, and therefore the criteria for admissions will also change. Every college will have its own set of expectations for its applicants. Therefore, you should research what each college is looking for and tailor your application to suit these requirements.
Getting into your dream college is no easy task, however, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t achievable. Make sure you work hard in order to accomplish your goals and bear in mind that colleges are now looking for well-rounded individuals, not just high scores.
Don’t be disheartened, getting to college is difficult, however, once you are there you will have the time of your life! Keep studying and working hard, the sky is the limit!