How To Get Into A Great College

Are you a student who has excelled at the high school level and are curious about how to get into a great college?

In this post, we’ll provide you with tips on how to get into some of the best colleges in the country.

Before we get started, I want to provide you with the approximate tuition costs and websites of the top 5 colleges in the U.S. according to

These colleges are as follows:

  • Harvard: $37,000
  • Princeton: $35,000
  • Yale: $36,500
  • California Institute of Technology: $35,000
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology: $38,000

If any of these schools are of interest to you, I would encourage you to visit their websites and get further information on admissions’ requirements, etc.

“If I want to go to a great college, does it have to be one of the top 5 in the country?”

Absolutely not! There are tons of great colleges and universities out there…I am only highlighting these top universities as an informational starting point.

College Admissions Process

Now, let’s talk about the admissions process at top colleges and universities.  Most great colleges have demanding admissions processes (as I’m sure you’ve already guessed).

In this section, I’ll give you the Top 5 things you will need to do to get accepted into a great college.

  • Tip 1:  Take challenging courses in high school.

If you qualify for honors or AP (advanced placement) classes in high school, take them!  Top colleges look for students who can excel in advanced level courses.  This indicates to the admissions committee that you can handle the school’s challenging curriculum.

Also, top colleges typically recruit students in the top 10-15% of their high school graduating class, so try to stay in this subset of students.

  • Tip 2:  Take the SAT or ACT

Whichever is required by the school(s) you’re interested in attending.  Regardless of which test you take, most top colleges will require the writing pre-test portion of the test.  It’s important to adequately prepare for these exams.

Even though the school will ultimately consider your highest score, it is often encouraged to not take the exam more than twice.  You should also visit each individual school’s website to get an idea of the SAT/ACT score of commonly admitted students.

  • Tip 3:  Stand out from the pack.

As you can imagine, you’ll be competing against the “best of the best” when attempting to get accepted into a top college.  With this in mind, you will have to find ways to make yourself stand out among the other applicants.  In order to do this, you must prove that you are a distinguished student.

How do I do that?  Don’t worry, you can do this in a variety of different ways: academic achievement, involvement in extracurricular activities, volunteer experiences, essays, letter of recommendations, etc.

Perhaps you’re a member of the National Honors Society and you developed a new program that had a major impact on the school or maybe you’ve formed a great relationship with your AP chemistry teacher and he can write you a letter a recommendation that will really speak very highly of you.

Whatever the case may be, you must clearly identify what makes you uniquely qualified to get into a great college.

  • Tip 4:  Complete the application as early as possible.

If the school has an “early decision” program, take advantage of it.  This demonstrates to the admissions committee that their school is at the top of your list.  This also gives you a better shot at receiving merit-based scholarships.

  • Tip 5:  Tour the campus and schedule an interview.

What better way to get your foot in the door, than to get some face-to-face time with the staff in the admissions office.  If you make a good impression, they’ll be watching for your application.

If you can’t schedule an interview, it’s still a good idea to visit the campus.  Being on campus gives you a feel for what it will be like as a student.

I hope these top 5 tips help give you a better idea of how to get into a great college. If you keep these things in mind as you apply, you will be on your way to attending one of the country’s top colleges in no time!

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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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