How To Get Into A Good College

At first glance, the college admissions process seems rather daunting!

The application, essays, recommendation letters, standardized exams, and financial aid forms can be discouraging.

In fact, they can even cause a lot of high school students to worry if they’ll ever be able to figure out how to get into a good college.

Below I’ll discuss 5 strategies guaranteed to make your college application stand out from your peers.

1 – Examine your course schedule

Colleges love to admit students who’ve taken (and excelled in) challenging courses in high school. So if you qualify for AP (advanced placement) or honors courses, take them! Students who perform well in advanced level courses can demonstrate to admissions officers they’re ready for college-level courses.

Also, in order to get into a good college, you’ll need to keep an eye on your class rank. The most elite colleges usually recruit students in the top 10-15% of their graduating class, however staying in the top third will give you a shot at a lot of great colleges.

2 – Score well on the ACT or SAT

You must adequately prepare for either the ACT or SAT exam. Your score on this exam, along with your high school grade point average, are arguably the two most important pieces of information admissions officers use to help determine their admissions decisions.

Most schools will accept either the ACT or SAT, so I’d recommend taking both exams. You might just discover you scored better on one of the exams over the other one. You should also check the school’s website to get an idea of the average ACT and/or SAT scores of recently admitted students. This way you’ll have some idea if you’re in the range or not when you get your test scores back.

Hint: If you can’t easily find the school’s average standardized test scores of recently admitted students, you can check sites like College Board or Petersons.com to find this information.

3 – Stand out from the crowd

As you might have guessed, you’ll be competing with a ton of students when attempting to get into a good college. As such, you must figure out how to make yourself stand out from your peers. What makes you different from the thousands of other applications the admissions team received?

There are multiple ways you can make your application stand out from the crowd – academics, extracurricular involvement, volunteer activities, college admissions essays, recommendation letters, etc.

Maybe you took all advanced placement classes during your junior year and did well in all of them or maybe you created a new student led organization related to a cause you’re passionate about.

Whatever the case may be, you must clearly highlight what makes you uniquely qualified. This is how to get into a good college.

4 – Apply early

If you’re absolutely, positively sure you want to go to a particular college or university, apply through the “early decision” program. This is a strong indicator to the admissions committee that their school is, without a doubt, at the top of your list. This also increases your chances of getting merit-based scholarships.

5 – Interviews aren’t really ‘optional’

Some colleges will require you to come in for an interview and other colleges will inform you that the interview is ‘optional.’ Even if the interview is not mandatory, I’d encourage every student to take advantage of the opportunity.

There’s no better way to increase your odds at getting admitted than to get some one-on-one time with someone from the admissions office. Trust me, if you make a great impression, they’ll be paying close attention to your application.

If the school doesn’t offer interviews, you should still schedule a time to tour the campus. Simply visiting the campus will give you an idea for what it would be like as a student. And, you never know, you might just build a relationship with the tour guide!

I hope these 5 strategies give you a bit more direction on how to get into a good college. If you remember all these things as you navigate the application process, you’ll be one your way to attending a good college in no time!

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TheCollegeHelper

TheCollegeHelper

Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.
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