Getting into college isn’t just about getting good grades and wowing admissions officers with a fascinating essay, though both of those are certainly important. The college admissions process really starts when you begin high school in your freshman year. You should be looking to the future from the start, implementing a long-term strategy for getting into your first choice school. Sure your GPA is going to play a big role but you need to look to other factors that are just as critical to helping you get accepted into the school you have your heart set on. The types of courses you take in high school, along with your SAT scores, are going to be a big help. Here are three tips for getting into the school of your dreams:
1. Advanced Placement
AP courses are a big deal with college admissions offices. It shows them that you took the initiative to challenge yourself with classes that are similar to those you would be taking in college. Some of these courses also offer college credit that will transfer over with you at the school where you are accepted. What’s great about these classes isn’t just the fact that they have similarities to the coursework you’ll be taking in college but they can have a major impact where your GPA is concerned. Colleges and universities typically have a minimum GPA to be accepted but if yours is well above that threshold and comes as part of your participation in AP level courses, you’re going to be a far more attractive candidate when you apply to your first choice school. A 3.5 GPA is great, a 3.5 GPA with AP courses under your belt is even better.
2. Form Relationships
Your high school years are going to be formative in many ways, including the friendships and relationships you strike up with your peers and faculty. These bonds can last a lifetime and when it comes to getting into the school of your choice they can also be extremely helpful. Foster a working relationship with your guidance counselor as he or she can devise a long term strategy for getting into the school you want. Through your guidance counselor you can learn more about the necessary requirements for getting into your chosen school and take the proper courses to better prepare you for the application process down the road.
3. Get Involved
College admissions directors like to see good grades, AP courses, and high SAT scores on your application, but if that’s all you have to offer you may be doing yourself a disservice. A well-rounded student is the one schools want to accept and that means having some kind of extracurricular activities as part of your high school resume. Participate in clubs, do some volunteer work, play sports, anything that shows you weren’t just focused on school work all the time demonstrates that you have other qualities to offer as a college student. If you have a passion for something, follow it and make yourself a part of it. That will only benefit you when a decision is made on your application.