Any student in high school will tell you that applying for college is a very important, long, and tricky process. Most people wouldn't realize, but the earlier you start preparing for applying to college the easier it is when that time approaches. With these five easy tricks, you will become an application superstar that any college would be lucky to have.
1. Enroll in challenging classes and take them seriously
We all know that hard classes can be, well, hard. However, colleges know this and will reward you for challenging yourself. The first thing colleges look at is the level of coursework and your GPA. Honors and AP (advance placement) classes add extra point to your GPA, so even if you don't get an A your GPA will remain the same. Beginning in freshman or sophomore year, take the most challenging classes you can and do your best. Seek outside tutoring (often available free from older students) on difficult subjects.
Colleges love to see that you have passions outside of school. Whether its sports, music, drama, debate, community service, or other school clubs, select 2-3 extracurriculars that interest you. Don't join every club you come in contact with. Instead, focus on a few that demonstrate your interest and work towards leadership positions. Colleges love seeing that you have leadership qualities.
3. Prepare for the SAT or the ACT early
Your score on these tests are important to colleges, so take the time to prepare early in your junior year. You can take these tests as many times as you want, so start early incase you want to retake them. You can study review books or attend review sessions to help improve your score. Give yourself time to take the tests more than once to improve your score before senior year.
There are almost 3000 colleges and universities in the US, so you will find a school that is a perfect fit for you. Take time to research the details of different schools online. Schools vary by size, location, specialties, student body, and cost. Many offer generous financial aid and scholarships. If you are able, try to drive or fly to visit schools that interest you to get a feel of the campus and meet current staff and students.
5. Choose summer experiences that highlight your interest
Use your summer breaks during high school wisely. Look for summer jobs, programs, classes, or camps that demonstrate your interest and give you experience in your areas of interest.
These five easy steps will help you find and snag the college of your dreams! Happy hunting!