Colleges are looking for students who have not only done well with their grades, but who have also challenged themselves, as they are more likely to succeed in college-level courses. The key is to plan ahead and start freshman year to build a foundation that will open doors to advanced coursework later on. For instance, being ready to get advanced algebra out of the way sophomore year puts you on track to take calculus before earning that high school diploma, which might set you up better should you apply to a program that requires it, such as engineering. Tackling honors, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes, if they're available, shows that you're up for the rigors of college, even if you don't ace them.
DOUBLE DOWN ON TESTS
Of course, colleges have long relied on standardized tests to help them differentiate between students in a way that grades alone cannot. Increasingly, applicants are choosing to take both the SAT and the ACT. Many college admissions officers consider scores of individual sections from both tests, but they’ll use the highest composite score in their admissions rubric. While many places don't require it, some do, and that may change year to year. Again, it's best to consult individual colleges policies.
PAY ATTEN TO DETAILS
Optional essays? Write them. A chance to elaborate on extracurricular activities? Take it. Colleges look at more than test scores and GPA. For students on the bubble, extra effort can be the difference for their odds of admission. And when it comes to extracurricular activities, Vuong you should pick ones that align with your passions over just to pad your resume. Colleges ask about extracurriculars because they want to understand more about you, and what matters to you. This is a chance for you to stand out from the crowd, so be a strong individual.
GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT
Nothing irritates application readers more than an applicant who uses the wrong college name or incorrect college facts in his application. Or who writes essays and short answers so general they have no idea why he wants to attend. So mention the specific features of the college that appeal to you in your essays and short answers. For example, you could mention the college's program in your major or a certain professor you want to work with. Get your facts straight and don't leave the impression that you wrote a cookie-cutter application that could apply to any college.
If you are seriously excited about a college, applying in the fall for an early action decision will put your application at the front of the line. If the college is your solid top choice, nothing makes you stand out more than applying for an early decision. Include a resume of your accomplishments. You might be outstanding in ways not asked about in the application. (Just be sure the college accepts resumes with applications.)
CLEAN UP YOUR ACT
Manage your online self. Make sure your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts show the person you want the college to see. I think it's important for you to understand that colleges, even the really large colleges, are doing much more holistic admissions, that admissions goes way beyond the data. "College admissions officers review applicants' social media profiles."
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