Get Into College Without Really Trying

Interested in going to a great college?

Sure you are.

Here are some basic guidelines for getting into that top college on your wish list.

If you can check most of these tips off, you stand a great chance of one day enrolling at that college you are really interested in.

1 Get started preparing for college early. Good universities want to see four years of good grades, involvement and extracurricular activity.

2 Colleges want to accept kids with lots of potential. You do have lots of potential, don’t you? Find a way to do something in school or outside of school that you can show off.

3 Get realistic expectations about what schools will accept you. You can apply to some “reach” schools, but you need to come up with a couple of good, solid colleges that offer a decent chance they will accept you and that you will happy at attending.

4 Constantly work at getting the best grades you can get. Other kids are earning great grades every year, you have to try to keep up.

5 Do well on the SAT and ACT exams. These scores are a big deal. You should practice for them and take them over until you have the best score you can realistically get.

6 Try to start something either in or outside of school. College admissions officers really like applicants that have started something. It could be a club, organization or small business, but starting something shows initiative, and they love that.

7 Try to show leadership. College recruiters like to see students who belong to clubs or organizations in or outside of school. But what they really like to see is demonstrated leadership in these clubs or organizations.

8 Apply to a college that your parent, brother or sister graduated from. Being a legacy applicant is something that some universities appreciate and reward. You still have to be a decent candidate, but this could seal the deal for you.

9 Write a killer college entrance essay. When you fill out your application, it’s really too late to do anything about your past grades or your test scores. Your essay is one aspect of the application you can still control at this point.

10 Apply for early acceptance enrollment. Going along with a school’s early acceptance policy increases the chances they will accept you. They want to get applicants signed up early if they can.

11 Have someone write a solid recommendation letter about you. Universities have to read so many mediocre student recommendation letters. Try to find someone who will write a terrific one about you.

12 Take AP and Honors Classes. Universities want to see applicants that took challenging courses in high school and didn’t take just easy ones. Success in AP classes may also indicate you will be able to handle college level courses too.

13 Get some work experience. Having a job helps strengthen your college application a bit. Non-paid internships are good too, but they can be difficult to get when you are still in high school.

14 Be a part of some good organizations. You don’t have to belong to a bunch of them, just try to show you are a valued member of a few, such as student council, yearbook, school newspaper, National Honor Society or the debate team.

15 Volunteer a little bit. Volunteering makes it look like you’re not too self-centered, plus it gives you something to put down on an application.

16 Play sports at some level. If you can play a sport really well and use it to earn a scholarship, that’s great. But for most kids, playing sports in school is a way to show they can dedicate time and effort to a team while at the same time keeping their studying up.

17 Play a musical instrument or sing in the choir. Most students in college played an instrument in their high school band or sang in the choir. There’s a relationship here that university acceptance officers recognize.

18 Visit your future school. Register for one of the tour days that your prospective college sets up. During your tour, you may also be able to arrange a short meeting with someone from the admissions office. When your tour is over, it’s important to decide if this is the right school for you or not.

19 Follow all the application instructions. Make sure it is complete. Don’t leave anything out. Don’t send them anything they didn’t ask for. Guarantee that your application doesn’t have any typos or other mistakes.

20 Don’t cheat, lie or plagiarize. If you want to borrow and combine ideas in your essay, that’s one thing, but colleges have software tools that check strings of words to see if they are original or if they have been used before.

21 Hire a consultant to coach you. There are consultants who work with high school students and help them become stronger college applicants. They coach you on how to get into that perfect school.

22 Take classes outside of school. It doesn’t matter that much what these classes are. They should be about some topic that you find interesting.

23 Be careful what you do on social media. Schools may see what you post on social media, so don’t put up pictures of you smoking weed or something.

24 Get to know an admissions counselor at your top school. You can email them with short questions and maybe get your name known to them in a positive light.

25 Attend a college fair or an individual college’s informational meet-up in your city.

26 Do a good job in your school interview. Prepare for it just like you would prepare for a job interview for a job that you really want.

27 Participate in a foreign exchange program. It looks good on a resume, plus if you aren’t having a great high school experience, it can give you a restart.

28 Be able to explain why you want to attend a certain university. Practice how you will answer the question about why you want to attend there. This question will come up somewhere in some context, so be ready for it.

29 Work the wait list. If you get on the wait list, keep contacting the school to let them know you are still strongly interested in attending there.

Thanks to Study Groupie and their list of college application tips for assistance with this article.