How to Get to Your Dream School
I’m a Junior in high school right now, and college applications begin this summer. I’ve attended several seminars and talked with many people to figure out just how to get into college. To understand how to get universities to want you, it is important to understand what colleges look at in the first place.
Yep, much of the time in a college’s eyes you are your grades. Cumulative GPA for grades 10-12 is what’s most important, and to get into a good college you generally should have an average GPA of at least 3.00. Also, it is preferable if you have received no D’s, F’s or Incompletes.
If you have received awful grades, consider going to a Junior College for freshman and sophomore years and then transferring to a university.
Scores SAT/ACT With Writing
Scores matter. The higher the score you can get on the SAT/ACT, the better. You can take both the SAT and the ACT multiple times, but avoid taking it more than 3 times because colleges will start thinking you are just trying to get as high a score possible without really studying.
My advice is to take the SAT once without much study, see where you need work, and get help in the areas you need to review. After lots of practice, take the test again, and if you are not happy with the second result, take it one last time.
Scores SAT II
Colleges care about SAT II scores. Take a math, a science, a foreign language, and an English test and you’ll be set. Princeton Review and local colleges offer great review programs.
Your essay is your chance to show the world how unique you are and to prove just why you deserve to go to a certain college more than others. Don’t make your essay a sob story or formulaically boring. Instead, consider what unique experiences give you your identity and write with a quirky and personal style.
Don’t be afraid to be comical, emotional, or revolutionary. Colleges don’t want identical robots- they want individuals like you.
Are you a Girl/Boy Scout? Do you have a job? Do you financially support your family? Do you play a sport? Are you in Band? Extracurriculars prove to colleges that you are a complete person who has many passions in life.
Also, colleges will ignore a slightly low GPA if you work full time or if you are dedicated to a certain activity.
Odds and Ends
Other factors are important to colleges as well, though not as important as the previously mentioned points. Recognitions, such as a Girl Scout Gold Award or Eagle Scout Award show your leadership qualities. Your PSAT score is also an important number because it is reported to colleges that respond with tons of mail and endless e-mails. Additionally, everyone has only one chance to take the PSAT, so its not so much a matter of practice, but skill.
Having parents who attended your college of choice will probably help you get chosen to go to that college, so be sure to mention it in your applications. Also, some colleges require recommendations, so be sure to maintain positive relationships with your instructors.
On your Applications
Be neat, precise, and type if possible. If you are writing, use blue or black pen. Turn in your applications early or on time, and you’ll probably get priority for choosing your residence hall if you are accepted.
I hope these tips have been helpful, and they will help you get into your ideal college. Good Luck!