You might fill out the actual application on the computer, but the application process for college begins as soon as you step into an elementary school classroom. From your very first moments in the academic realm, you're sculpting a profile that will one day be put on display for admissions councils. College boards want to ensure that the students accepted into their academic institutions are well-rounded and will have the stamina and longevity to thrive in a rigorous college environment. College is a holistic experience comprised of learning how to prioritize, manage a schedule, live on your own, and handle adult responsibilities. Do you have what it takes to succeed at this level?
2. You had too many endless summers.
Summer is presented as the opportunity to take a break from school, relax, and recharge for the next academic year. This is a great idea in theory, but most school systems give a long 10 weeks of summer, and you need to use some of that to build your academic profile in order to be on track for college acceptance. Summer is the perfect opportunity to participate in activities that show admissions councils that you are as well-rounded as you can possibly be. This is your chance to work, volunteer, and participate in your community, so that you have more substantial headlines on your applications. Also, if you turn off your brain completely during an "endless summer", it will be extremely difficult to re-engage with school in the next academic year, causing an imminent drop in your grades and jeopardizing your chances at getting into the college of your choice.
3. You woke up one morning and decided, "Ah, I'm going to write my essay today."
Writing is a process. College application essays are no different. You must research, write, edit, and revise. It doesn't hurt to have a second pair of eyes on your work, either! Drafting and redrafting your work are also crucial steps in this process. Once you have written the best draft you can write, ask a parent, friend, or teacher to review your essay. You can also bring essays in to tutoring centers (like SpiderSmart!) to polish your work while still allowing your authentic voice to shine through. The essay is your one chance to show the admissions council your personality. It is important to make the best impression possible!
4. Like everybody else, you have good grades, good test scores, play soccer or lacrosse, and play the piano.
What sets you apart from the millions of college applicants across the United States? Your leadership skills and life experience are what will boost your chances of getting into the college of your dreams. If you don't stand out from the crowd, you will get lost in the endless stream of applications that come across the Dean of Admissions' desk. Internships, work experience, and leadership roles in school and your community are key examples of the traits college boards are searching for in an ideal candidate. If you are not yet involved in these kinds of niche opportunities, now is the time to start!
5. You chose poorly.
When selecting your ideal colleges, you need to think about what's best for you- but also what's best for the school. It is important that you tour different institutions and get a feel for which environment will help you grow the most. However, most schools are looking for a certain type of student. Do you fit the profile of the schools you're aiming for? The Admissions Company can calculate the odds that you will or will not be admitted to a certain college, and show you strategies on how to improve your chances. Don't waste your time, energy, or money applying to schools that are not likely to admit you! Choose a school that you have a shot of getting in to- or, at least do what you can to make yourself the type of candidate they will accept.
Thank you to Dr. Sybil Gohari for submitting this week's Top 5 headlines.