There is much more to applying for college than doing well on SAT’s and/or getting good grades. Knowing what the admission committee will look for and how to make yourself stand out from other prospective students can go a long way towards securing your admission to the school of your choice. What you don’t do may also be the reason why your admission application is rejected.
Here is a look at some important considerations that will help you know how to go about preparing yourself for the application process. This information may also help you focus on what extra curricular activities you should consider pursuing in order to show the prospective college that you have varied interests and are a well rounded person.
*What do you have to offer the college? –
Applying to college is not unlike applying for a job. When you apply for a job, the potential employer is looking at your qualifications, but they will also look for those lite things that make you seem like a more impressive applicant. A college admission committee does the same thing. They will look at everything you have to offer to the college and any special talents, activities and interests that make you seem a little more special than another applicant.
Colleges are looking at everything about you, for example, who you are, what your interests are, what classes you have taken, how well you did in them and what extra curricular activities you are involved in. They will be looking for a prospective student who is involved in school organizations, religious organizations, community organizations and who has something to offer besides a good academic record. All of these activities show a college that you are a well rounded student and that there is more to you than your academic record and the recommendations you provide with your application.
*Who could you ask for a recommendation?
Obviously, high school students typically turn to a guidance counselor and teachers to ask them to write their college recommendation letters. If you have a job, consider asking your employer. If you do volunteer work, ask the supervisor. Show that you can provide different types of recommendations because this will show college admission committees that you are a more well rounded student.
*Understand that high school sets the stage for college –
Everything you do or don’t do in high school can set the stage for college. If you know that you will want to go to college, be sure that you take classes that will prepare you for college. Be sure you take the sorts of classes that will be regarded as prerequisites for future college classes.
If you take advanced placement classes, you may be able to get some college credit for those classes, but if you don’t take advanced placement or honors classes, you may discover that you are at a serious disadvantage because other prospective incoming freshmen students will have a more impressive academic record. If your course work is deficient, you may be forced to take remedial classes.
*The application process is like a competition –
In addition to what you do academically, you are competing against an unknown number of unknown students and you have no clue what their qualifications are, whether their grades are better than yours, what sort of extra things they have to put on their application in order to impress the admissions committee. The more you can do to present yourself as a conscientious, motivated, serious and disciplined student, the more impressed the admissions committee will be.
*A limited number of places in each freshmen class –
Most colleges and universities have a limited number of spaces for their incoming freshmen class. You are competing for one of those spaces. If you are really serious about a specific college, then you need to set out to prepare yourself to compete against some talented and highly qualified students. You need to make sure that your qualifications make you stand out as someone worthy of consideration. Even if you aren’t a National Merit Scholar, there are ways by which you can show a potential college admission committee that you have something equally special to offer.
*How you present yourself in your essay –
Your college application essay is your chance to introduce yourself to the admissions committee. This is the place where you can tell them who you are, what your interests are, why you are applying to their college, what your hopes are, why you think you are a good candidate for admissions, and most of all, what you have to offer the prospective college.
*Your application is also a request for financial aid –
We live in a day and age where for most high school juniors and seniors, the possibility of going to college can’t and won’t be a reality without substantial financial aid. Now, there are more applicants who apply to college and also apply for financial aid than there are those who don’t apply for aid. If you will need financial aid in order to be able to attend college, you need to realize that you are not only trying to impress the admissions committee, show them what you have to offer and why you should be accepted to their school; you are also attempting to prove to the school that you are worthy of financial aid, and that your accomplishments are good enough to earn you that aid.
Don’t take anything for granted in the college application process. Nothing is certain until you receive an acceptance letter.