3 Essential Tips to Ensure You’re Accepted Into Your First-Choice College
Each fall, a new freshman class enters high school, most with the expectation of going on to college after graduation. Dedicated, hard-working students are typically aware that diligent study habits during the next four years can ensure higher GPAs and better SAT scores. But students sometimes neglect other areas of focus, such as close relationships with guidance counselors, enrollment in Advanced Placement or AP courses, and other factors that can affect their success in less evident ways. Here are my 3 essential tips to ensure you’re accepted into your first-choice college.
When you begin your freshman year, you should foster close, professional relationships with your teachers and meet regularly with your guidance counselor. Your guidance counselor should stand behind you for the next four years and have a firm grasp on your goals, your aspirations for college, and even your career decisions. Work with him or her to draw out a plan to ensure your success. Do research on your own regarding college degree requirements and discuss them with your counselor to be sure you enroll in the best courses in the coming years that will put you on the correct path for college entrance. He or she can give you input on which specific courses are offered at your school and when you should enroll in these courses. Most college preparatory courses require prerequisites from previous years, so you typically can map out a four year plan to know where you intend to go on your journey toward higher education.
Something that most counselors and teachers encourage is enrollment in AP courses. Most high schools offer these courses to their college-bound students because they can earn higher GPAs by taking and successfully completing these courses. Also, some offer college credit that you can take forward with you into higher education. All colleges require a minimum GPA for enrollment. Your research on schools of choice should begin during your sophomore year. Make sure you know what GPA and SAT scores are acceptable to the schools that you are applying to. If offered at your high school, plan to take the PSAT as practice in your sophomore or junior year. Application to college should take place during your senior year, once you’ve successfully completed the SAT and have your scores.
In addition to your coursework and placement tests, you should become involved in extracurricular activities. Colleges like to attract students who have the grades and the perseverance that is shown in dedication to outside activities and service. Volunteer work, civic clubs, and religious service are a few things that show a student’s ability to manage time and devote attention to things outside of schoolwork. With these activities, you also foster relationships with many different people from many walks of life who can become excellent personal references on college and future job applications. Showing that you are a well-rounded citizen in your community and continuing civic responsibilities throughout college are necessary to success in your professional and personal life.
Though high school is one of the most fun and exciting times of a person’s life, keeping an eye on the future through relationships with guidance counselors, coursework, and personal activities outside school are all essential to ensuring that you are accepted into the college of your choice.
By Andrew Stratton