While your school transcript and ACT or SAT test scores are important, they don’t give a full picture of who you are. College admissions officers are looking for students that will create an incoming class with diverse interests and backgrounds.
If you’ve got the scores and grades you want, it’s time to put the finishing touches on your college admissions application. Here’s what you should focus on:
College Admissions Tips: If You’re A Junior
Start researching colleges and going on visits. Talk to your college counselor about what you want out of your college experience. Access to business internships? Do you want to work on a prestigious campus newspaper? Think about what’s important to you in terms of academics, culture, politics, and financial aid. What are the features of your best fit college?
Keep up with extracurricular activities. Commitment to a sport, hobby or job over four years of high school is much more compelling than a smorgasbord of scattered activities. Don’t be a sampler. Commit to something! What you do with your time shows colleges who you really are.
Build relationships with your teachers. You’ll end up asking at least two of them (and maybe a coach or employer if you’re working a part-time job) to write letters of recommendation for you later. Participate in class, ask for help when you need it and keep in touch with your favorite teachers.
Make your summer count. Some students enroll in university programs to get onto their favorite college’s radar. Others jump into outdoor activities or find a summer job. Whatever you do, your summer activities can make your college application stand out from those of your peers.
College Admissions Tips: If You’re A Senior
Compare colleges and make your final list. Talk to your counselors about researching your best options. Visit as many of the schools you’re considering as possible, and make sure you sign up for an official tour. You should be able to say or write about why the schools on your list are a good fit for you.
Finesse your interview skills. Since many colleges consider optional interviews as part of your application, it’s a smart idea to prepare seriously. Practice with a parent or friend, and spend some time drafting a list of creative questions to ask.
Polish up your college essays. Look at your personal statement from the point of view of an admissions officer. Is your essay interesting? Does it reveal something about you? Is it whiny or does it seem like something that others are going to write about? What makes it stand out? Triple check that your essay is free of typos, spelling mistakes and grammar errors.
Ask your teachers for recommendations. Give your teachers plenty of notice and all the tools they need to write a fantastic letter. Copies of your transcript, personal statement and a list of your extracurricular activities will help them with specific examples for their good letter!
If you need help putting together a rock star application, call Biltmore Tutoring at (828) 505-2495 and ask about our college counseling services.