1. Make Good Grades In Challenging Classes
For college admission A’s are great, B’s are good, C’s are questionable, and D’s and F’s are red flags. But colleges aren’t just looking at your grades, they are looking at the courses you’ve taken. Your course selection choices show your interests, talents, and willingness to academically challenge yourself.
2. Become Passionately Involved
Pursue an interest, learn something new, help others, and have fun. Colleges want students who are involved in things they love. Not all students are talented in the subjects offered in school. Extracurricular activities allow students to discover their interests and gifts. Some of the most successful people in life, did not have perfect grades in high school, but they did develop skills and talents outside the classroom which helped them excel in the workplace.
3. Do well on the SAT
Spend the time to study and prepare for the test. Review the reading, math, writing sessions, and overall test strategies. Having great scores now will save you time senior year. Most of my students will take the SAT twice their junior year. Students can always re-take the test October of their senior year, but this should be viewed as a last chance effort.
4. Know Your Schools
Research and visit colleges. If you know where you do (and don’t) want to apply, you will be ready for early admission. Don’t wait until junior year is over to begin this process. Colleges want students to learn more and will be glad to see you attend college fairs or official information sessions and campus tours.
5. Put Your Summer To Work
Participate in a summer program at your top choice college, volunteer, do independent research, or work 40 hours a week. Colleges love students who make the most of their time. You will still have time for friends and vacation. Remember when you apply to college, your application will be reviewed against that of the person who did something with their time, so don’t let this opportunity slip away. You can’t wait until the beginning of June to make plans, start thinking now and take action to secure your top choice position for the summer.
These five elements apply to all high school students. If you master these, your college admissions options will improve and you will find the process less stressful.