Starting in a child’s Freshman year of high school, conversations surrounding the road to college become more and more popular. Terms like AP Exams, the SAT, the ACT, community service, and school involvement begin to hold significant importance to those who are planning to attend a college or university; The tips provided below outline the things you need to do to have the best chances of getting into college.
Create a strong foundation
Towards the end of 8th grade, you start to pick your highschool-level courses for the following year. If you already have a career path in mind, it is important to pick classes (honors or Advanced Placement) that are geared towards your desired career. If you’re sure of a career path, you can choose to take classes throughout high school that might count towards your degree. However, if you’re a student that isn’t quite sure what you’d like to pursue, you should still strive to take honors and AP classes to explore different areas of interest.
Colleges want well-rounded students that can balance clubs/extracurriculars and schoolwork. Join a sport or find a club that speaks to your interests and values as a person. There are about a dozen sports to choose from and most likely a wide variety of clubs to join ranging from National Honor Society to Political Club. If you join something in freshman or sophomore year and stick with it throughout high school, this shows colleges that you actually care about that activity and are devoted to it.
Get your community service hours
In some states and counties, you must complete a certain amount of volunteer hours to graduate or to qualify for financial aid packages. In your early high school years, start to research different service opportunities in your area, and gradually acquire service hours instead of waiting until your senior year to complete them. Find service opportunities that are meaningful to you because this will encourage you to volunteer not just for fun, but to help others (colleges like to see this).
Keep your grades up
If you take challenging classes, it’s important to put forth the maximum effort and get good grades to stand out to colleges. Don’t be afraid to get help from a teacher or, better yet, hire a tutor. Miles Smart Tutoring offers tutoring in dozens of subjects from Biology to French.
Start taking the SAT/ ACT
The College Board recommends that you first take the SAT at the end of your junior year and then again at the beginning of your senior year. However, many start taking it earlier so that they have more time to prepare and increase their score. If you were to take the SAT or ACT at the beginning of your junior year, you’d have a year to improve your score before you start college applications. Miles Smart Tutoring offers affordable, one-on-one SAT tutoring services that are personalized to fit your strengths and weaknesses. The higher your standardized test score, the more likely it is that you’ll get into the college of your choice.
Start applying early
Most universities open their applications in the fall and if you’re within the GPA and standardized test score range for the school, there is no reason to not apply early. Students can apply Early Action, Early Decision, or Regular Decision. Early Action plans are non-binding, meaning students receive a response on their application early but don’t have to commit to the college until they’ve heard back from other schools. Early Decision plans are binding which means a student who is accepted must attend that school. Lastly, Regular Decision is the normal application process by which students apply by the regular deadlines and receive a decision in the spring of their senior year.
Common Application is a very useful tool in the college application process. With 800 member colleges and universities around the country, the app makes it easy to apply to many different schools without confusion. Through the app, you fill out a single application with all your important information, upload your recommendation letters, and attach writing supplements. Then you perfect your application, pay the application fee and you’re done. The app helps you to organize all the items and documents needed for your application so that you can focus on the quality of your application rather than worrying about submitting all the different parts of each application.
Fill out financial aid forms
Nationwide, students are required to fill out the FAFSA form which allows families to apply for financial assistance from the federal government. Many institutions also analyze your FAFSA information for scholarship purposes.
Wait for your acceptance
If you’ve given 100% effort and tried your best, you will hopefully get into the university of your choice. If not, there are thousands of options to choose from, so don’t be discouraged!
Go to college!
You’ve achieved your goal of getting into a college! Now keep up the good work and don’t forget to pass these tips along!