Sunday, September 13, 2009

25 Best Tips for High Schoolers from College Admissions Counselors

These are some of the things you can do to ensure acceptance while you’re still in high school.

  1. Challenge yourself: Be sure you take challenging courses your last year of high school.
  2. Attend a quality high school: If you want to make it into an Ivy League school, go to a feeder high school that sends many students to Ivy League schools every year.
  3. Take AP or honors courses: Get prepared for college and show that you can work hard by taking advanced courses.
  4. Have a strong GPA: It seems like a no brainer, but having a good GPA will help you get in to your chosen school.
  5. Don’t join clubs to fill your resume: Although quality clubs and activities are important, avoid taking on too much in your final year just for your resume.
  6. Be well rounded: Be a good student, but also participate in a handful of clubs and activities, and have an officer position so you can really stand out.
  7. Get help with classes: If you’re having trouble achieving the GPA you want, get help from your parents, tutors, or study groups.
  8. Don’t slack off: Your colleges will see your final grades even after you’re accepted.
  9. Get into an organized competition: Become a part of a national academic quiz bowl, international science fair, or other events that can show how you stack up against students outside of your community.
  10. Test more than once: If you don’t get the score you’re looking for in the beginning, test over again until you get it.
  11. Take the PSAT: Prepare for the SAT by taking the SAT as a sophomore.

Choosing a School

These are some tips for finding the right school for you.

  1. Look for a college with a wide variety of offerings: You may have plans for art school, but it’s best to stick with a college that has options just in case you change majors down the road.
  2. Find out the student/faculty ratio: If you want a more engaging college experience, find a school with a smaller ratio of students to faculty.
  3. Attend college fairs: Get a feel for colleges by attending college fairs.
  4. Consider whether the Ivy League is right for you: Don’t automatically shoot for the stars and try to get into an Ivy League school if it’s not the right fit for you.
  5. Start thinking about schools by the end of your junior year: Consider what kind of school you want in your junior year so you’ll have plenty of time to get ready.
  6. Check out college guides: The US News and World Report, Princeton Review, College Board and other sites can help you find the school for you.
  7. Check out the alcohol policy: Find out if your college is a party school or not by researching its alcohol policy.
  8. Consider the level of academic challenge: Think about whether you want to be a big fish in a small pond, or a small fish in a big pond.
  9. Research the freshman retention rate: Find out how many people enjoyed their college experience enough to come back.
  10. Look up safety statistics: You can find out how safe your potential college campus is by looking up statistics for safety and security.
  11. Make your choice as an individual: Don’t make your decision based on your parents, or where your best friend is going-make the right choice for you.
  12. Find extracurricular activities: Find out what the most popular activities are on campus.


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