There are few things that produce more anxiety than the college admissions process. Students are under significant pressure to get into a great school so they can prepare for their future careers and the rest of their lives. Being proactive and getting started on applications early can help minimize stress in addition to giving you more time to make sure you’ve put your best foot forward.
Students and parents who have never been through the admissions process before may have a lot of questions about what they can do to get a leg up on the competition. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available both on and offline that can help you get into the school you want to attend.
Read on to learn more about the ins and outs of college applications.
What do you need to prepare to apply to college?
Applying to college can be incredibly difficult, especially if you plan to do it on your own. It’s a good idea to consider investing in college application consulting, particularly if you want to get into a top college. A college application consultant will know exactly how applications work and what the schools you’re applying to are looking for. Even the best students can struggle sometimes with top-tier admissions to schools like Yale or Stanford. A college admissions consultant will give you an edge that will help you stand out.
Start organizing your application materials early. You can purchase printed pocket folders to help sort out all your paperwork. The last thing you want to do is send an essay or application to the wrong school. It’s easy to lose track of important information or documents when you’re applying to multiple schools, so take the time to be organized if you want to avoid any extra hassle.
It’s also smart to think about whether or not you want to apply early to any school or program. You should only apply through early-decision programs if you’re sure that you want to attend a specific school if offered admission. The acceptance rate is often at least slightly higher for early-decision applicants at many competitive schools. Demonstrated passion for a university is definitely an asset.
How competitive are college admissions?
The reality is that college admissions are competitive and becoming even more so, especially at the most selective colleges. Top universities have more qualified applicants than ever, which has made the application process even more difficult. Students with perfect SAT or ACT scores and flawless GPAs are rejected all the time from top-tier programs. This proves that your application has to include more than just proof of academic merit.
Colleges also aren’t impressed by students who rack up long lists of extracurricular activities. It’s more impressive to excel in a few activities and invest a significant amount of time in them.
Try to find a mentor who can help you understand what projects and school clubs will help prepare you for your future career. It’s about showing a school that you’re the right fit and that you’re the type of student who will succeed in their degree program. Experts say that earnestness, honesty, and authenticity are also qualities that admissions officials value.
There’s no denying that there’s a lot that goes into the college application process. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t experts who can help take some of the work off your plate and show you how to work smarter, not harder. It’s essential for parents and educators to keep in mind that though college applications are important, students will perform their best when they’re supported and encouraged. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get everything just right or be accepted to one specific school.
As long as you give yourself enough time and take advantage of the resources available to help you, you’ll be well on your way to your dream school.