How to Get Into Your Dream College: Tips from the Top

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Is there a college you’ve always wanted to go to? Are you worried about providing yourself the best chance of being accepted to that college? These aren’t mutually exclusive questions, and you’re not alone. The following seven suggestions are designed to increase your chances of making your goal a reality.

7 Quick Pointers to Getting Accepted into College

It isn’t impossible to get into your top pick, but it will be difficult. Read these 7 ideas to boost your chances of getting into your dream institution or university to make the process easier.

Focus on academics

It’s no secret that great grades and test scores are crucial when it comes to impressing college admissions committees. Take Advanced Placement (AP) classes in your stronger disciplines to aid with this. The advantages of AP courses are numerous. They expose you to college-level work, help you improve your GPA, and (in some cases) even count toward college credit. If you’re having trouble with a subject, consider hiring a tutor. Finally, look for a local program or institution that provides SAT and ACT courses to assist you in studying for these exams.

Know who you are

However, grades aren’t the only factor that universities examine while evaluating your application. Schools want to know that you are more than your GPA or SAT score and that you are a unique individual. You must portray this real self to the admissions committee when crafting your application. Remember that colleges are looking for outstanding musicians for their marching bands, incredible athletes for their sports teams, and innovative thinkers for their research labs. 

And they want to brag to the rest of the world about the numerous awards that the students in whom they are investing have received. As a result, be sure to describe how you will help your dream school in your application, just as you should show how your dream school would benefit you.

Get involved

Getting involved in extracurricular activities is one of the best methods to demonstrate that you are a unique individual (rather than a number). These can be any number of activities that take place both within and outside of the classroom. Why are extracurricular activities important to colleges? Your participation in extracurricular activities reveals that you are curious, motivated, responsible, and well-rounded, in addition to your brilliance. 

Colleges are also looking for students who will contribute to the university’s life outside of the classroom. Knowing about your extracurricular activities before college will help admissions committees visualize how you will contribute to campus life throughout college, from joining clubs to helping plan events to starting new volunteer organizations.

Practice your creative writing skills

Don’t just write an “information dump” of your numerous accomplishments in your college admissions essays. Rather, write a story that will entice the reader and draw them into your life’s journey. Consider this: Why am I such an intriguing character? So far, what has been the most fascinating aspect of my life? And why is my ideal school the most appropriate next step in my life? In the end, this is what you’re attempting to persuade your reader of in your admissions essays. If you’ve read, written, and thought about stories before, the work will be much easier.

Stand out from the crowd

We often find that formats other than the written word best represent us in an increasingly visual and digital society. With this in mind, several universities are now accepting college essays in formats other than the typical essay, such as video or audio files. These are sometimes accepted as additional application materials, and other times they are accepted instead of a written essay. If you think working in one of these formats would be more your style, see if your dream school allows these types of college essays.

Embrace your origin story

Colleges strive to have a student body that is as diverse as feasible. If your chosen school is far away, make sure to explain how your unique cultural background and experiences can contribute to the institution’s richness and variety in your application. Colleges are also aiming to improve the number of first-generation and low-income students who can attend. If you fall under either of these categories, be sure to illustrate your tenacity and resilience by describing your numerous accomplishments despite these obstacles. Also keep in mind the numerous scholarships available, such as those for first-generation and low-income students.

Apply early 

Applying early to your ideal school is another simple—yet effective—way to stand out from the throng. According to research published by U.S. News & World Report, certain institutions in the United States receive as many as 84,068 applications. With so many applications coming in each fall season, it’s important to get a head start.

Final Thoughts

With each new class, colleges must meet specific requirements and objectives. Even if you’re the perfect fit, you may be denied for a variety of reasons, including boosting diversity, finding students from each state, accepting a specific number of overseas students, or just bringing in more revenue. While it’s easier said than done, try not to take it personally and have a couple of “dream college” backup choices!