Getting accepted into your dream college can feel like an impossible task. You have to compete against so many talented and intelligent students for a limited number of places, so crafting the perfect application is key. Not only that, you need to maintain good grades and demonstrate a rich life outside the classroom, too.
Before you start panicking, take a deep breath! This post is here to help you out. As long as you’re dedicated, there are plenty of legitimate and effective tactics you can employ that will increase your chances of getting into college – keep reading to find out more.
Study Hard In High School
Perhaps the most obvious action you can take to boost your chances of heading off to college is to knuckle down and study hard while in high school. Colleges give a lot of weight to factors such as your GPA and scores on standardized tests like the SATs when deciding whether to offer you a place. As such, dedicating yourself to your school work is vital.
If you feel as though you’re struggling, try these top tips:
- Experiment with different learning styles to find which ones suit you best
- Work with a tutor or ask your teachers for extra help
- Explain what you’re learning to other people to highlight your weak points and deepen your understanding
- Test yourself on the material rather than simply reading over your notes again and again
- Have regular but shorter study sessions rather than one long one to improve recall
- Find a study buddy to work with and make learning more enjoyable
- Try to understand why a fact is true, rather than just memorizing it
- Start revising for exams early instead of cramming the night before
Research Your Options
All colleges have different entry requirements and unique programs, so it’s important to research those you’re interested in thoroughly. You can look at campusreel.org to get a better idea of what the entry requirements are for different colleges and then draw up a list of those you want to apply to.
It’s good to have a mixture of dream schools a little above your level that you could get accepted into if you work hard, colleges you stand a good chance of getting into with your current grades, and a safe option in case your results are worse than you expected.
Use your research to make your applications stand out by highlighting specific aspects of each program that appeal to you. This will show colleges that you are genuinely passionate about studying with them and will be a good fit for the course they offer.
Take Part In Extracurriculars
While academics are probably the most important factor when applying to college, extracurriculars are a very close second. Universities also want to admit well-rounded students who have a life outside the classroom.
Whether you’re into sport, music, art, drama, or something else entirely, taking part in clubs and activities is a great way to demonstrate that you have the key qualities colleges are looking for. These include teamwork, leadership, problem-solving, organization, time management, and motivation.
When crafting your personal statement, don’t simply mention in passing that you’re a member of a certain club or team. Instead, discuss how taking part in that extracurricular has enabled you to grow as a person, learn new skills, develop important traits, and overcome challenges.
In addition to extracurriculars, remember to mention any volunteering you’ve done, internships you’ve completed, or work experience that you have. All of these help to build up a bigger picture of who you are and what you’ve achieved.
Look After Your Health
When applying to college, it’s easy to focus on nothing else and let your mental and physical health fall by the wayside. However, this is a big mistake. Your health is crucial for all sorts of reasons, one of which is that it contributes to your cognitive functions. A poor diet, dehydration, sedentary lifestyle, and lack of sleep can all negatively impact your concentration and memory.
Check out the following tips to keep your brain and body in top shape:
- Drink six to eight glasses of water a day to ensure you stay hydrated
- Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
- Avoid foods that are high in salt or sugar
- If you need a study break, go for a short walk in nature
- Do some exercise every day, whether it’s dance, sports, yoga, or anything else active
It’s also important to ensure you get seven to nine hours of good quality sleep each night. If this is something you struggle with, these tactics may help:
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends
- Wear a sleep mask or get blackout curtains to block out light
- Write down any worries you have about college applications (or anything else) in a journal before you go to bed so that they don’t keep you awake
- Listen to sleep stories or calming music as you drift off