While your transcript and test scores are important, they aren’t the full picture of who you are. College admissions officers are looking for candidates with curiosity, passion, and persistence that will make an incoming class with diverse interests and backgrounds.
Now that you’ve got the scores and grades you want, it’s time to put the final touches on your college application. Here’s what you should focus on as a junior or senior in high school.
Talk to your college counselor about what you want out of your college experience. Access to environmental internships? A prestigious campus newspaper? Think about what’s important to you in terms of academics, campus culture, and financial aid. What are the features of your best fit college?
Commitment to a sport, hobby, or job over four years of high school is much more compelling than a smorgasbord of scattered activities. What you do with your time shows colleges who you are and what qualities you’ll bring to campus.
You’ll end up asking at least two of them (and maybe a coach, adviser, or employer) to write letters of recommendation for you later. Participate in class, ask for help when you need it, and keep in touch with the teachers you like most.
Some students enroll in university programs to start earning college credits. Others dive into outdoor activities or find a summer job. Whatever you do, your experience can make your college application stand out from those of your peers.
Talk to your counselors about researching your best options, and try to visit as many of the schools you’re considering as possible. You should be able to articulate WHY the schools on your list are a good fit for you (something you may be asked to do in an application essay or college interview!).
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 (that can’t be answered by skimming the admissions website).
Look at your personal statement from an admission officer’s point of view. Is your essay interesting? Does it reveal something about you? Triple check that your essay is free of typos, spelling mistakes, and grammar errors.
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 glowing rec!
Are you looking for strategic college advice based on your personality and goals? Our College Counselors will help you find, apply, and get accepted to your dream school.