I believe the college admissions process can be divided into three steps. These are three steps that every student will have to proceed through during high school as they seek admission into their colleges and the process will be somewhat different for every applicant.
Often, colleges will look to see that a student pursues academic challenges with AP and honors classes. Sometimes, it is not only about the A, but about the class and the improvement within the curriculum.
Obviously, a student should enjoy school and take plenty of personal time so that they are not excessively stressed, but students can still use their free time to embellish their resume.
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In today’s world, internships and work experience are more available than ever to students. A student can substitute an hour per week of watching television with an hour of tutoring or volunteering.
Especially during summers, students can experiment with future careers by working in an office or observing the work of a professional. For example, a friend of mine recently became an EMT, to prepare for a future career in medicine.
The following basic three steps are what every high school student can expect to experience during the college admissions process, with slight variations based simply based on being an individual:
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In this first step, a prospective student will have to come to terms with the fact that they may not be accepted into some institute, or be able to afford a certain private school.
On the other hand, options like size and location can remain varied. A student can tour big schools and small schools, schools in New York and schools in Texas.
On these tours
, notes should be taken for future reference (and possible essay ideas), but most of all, the student should get the “feel” of the school.
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For most people, this step will occur during either sophomore or junior year. This could be called the “fun” part of college admissions, when there’s a nice balance between “the sky’s the limit” and the anxiety of possible future disappointment.
Step two comes when applications deadlines are approaching. Now, decisions need to be made.
Most students will apply to a dream school that they probably will not get into. To tip the odds
in your favor, you may wish to apply early action or early decision. With these options, acceptance rates rise prominently and the applicant has a much higher chance of getting in.
Also, most students apply to one or two safety schools, schools that they are sure they will be accepted into. A student should be willing to go to this school (or be able to see themselves there), since it is the plan B.
Most students apply to somewhere between five and eight colleges, since the fees can be steep for each application and applications are very time-consuming. It is more worthwhile to craft four or five excellent applications than eleven adequate ones.
Normally, students should begin to hunt for essay ideas junior year. One college student, who will be starting NYU in the fall, advised me to “just write about something you’re passionate about.” Some schools, however, provide essay topics for the students.
Other options, like sending in additions, can be utilized to enhance your application. Some schools use interviews, which are opportunities to show your personality and to make a good impression.
As long as your essay is written to the best of your ability and unique, your grades and SAT scores are in the school’s range and you show dedication in your extracurricular activities, your application should grant you admittance into the universities you apply to.
Still, it is important to keep in mind that schools sometimes reject people for reasons beyond the applicant’s control. This is important for step three.
Step three is receiving the responses you have worked so hard for. During this time, it is important to remember that colleges always have to make hard decisions about which students they choose to accept.
A rejection letter
does not mean life is over, just that you will not be attending that school.
Truly, there is a school for every applicant. Additionally, the college process is hard and cutthroat for a reason: students must go to a school that is appropriate for their skill level.
No matter where a student decides to go, he or she can thrive, learn, and enjoy him or herself.
Remember, every student that has attended college has gone through this process and survived it, and so will you!