Getting accepted into college involves a combination of following the right steps and ensuring you’ve chosen a good fit. This choice will affect the next four years (and the rest) of your life. Where you live. Friends you make. Relationships you build. Career options you have. It all is impacted by the college you attend.
With a decision this big, it’s important to be prepared! Educate yourself about your options, take advantage of pre-college summer programs and create a list of your top choice colleges. Then, do your best to ensure that your top choice colleges will accept you when it is time to apply!
Ensure Your College Application Stands Out
With thousands of other students (with similar GPAs and test scores) applying to the same colleges, it can be difficult to know how to impress the admissions officers. No need to fear – Blueprint is here to help! Below are 5 ways to take to make your application stand out – well before you nail that admissions interview.
Staying involved in your community is important, too. Volunteering with a local church or not-for-profit. Run for student council. Join the debate team. Wherever your interests lie, keeping yourself involved in your high school and community demonstrates that you will be an asset to any college or university.
Pro tip:Increase your involvement in an activity within your high school or your community. Find a cause that you support, a sport you love to play, or an activity that you enjoy and commit to your involvement in that area. Finding your niche in the organization will show leadership and commitment when applying to colleges.
Follow your interests
Colleges and universities want students who are interested in new ideas and are able to take initiative. If you stay curious in high school and expand your interests now, you’ll be better prepared to handle the deep dive into an area of concentration when you get to college.
Pro tip: Follow your interest wherever it leads. Whether it is an obsession with graphic design, a dedication to the Classical Guitar, a keen interest in robotics or working towards a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Your interests – and the passion to follow them – will add uniqueness to your college application and help you stand out.
When you get to college, you will be expected to juggle multiple responsibilities and competing priorities. Preparing for your Physics exam. Studying for your Organic Chemistry lab. Writing that paper for English Composition. It all needs to get done – and each one is important. In college, no one will be standing over your shoulder ensuring your work is completed on time. Learning how to take responsibility now, as a high school student, will set you up for success in college (and in life!).
Pro tip: Get a part time job – even if it’s only a few hours on the weekends. A job will help you learn how to juggle priorities. It also demonstrates responsibility. If transportation is an issue, be creative! Mow lawns in your neighborhood, sell art or handmade items on Etsy, set up a car wash in your driveway or do odd jobs for neighbors. Find opportunities to be resourceful and your application will certainly stand out to college admissions officers.
College is about stretching outside of your comfort zone and challenging your abilities. But you don’t have to wait until college to develop skills and talents that will support you in life and career! Start early by taking tougher classes and staying on top of your homework.
You may not skate through each semester like some high school students – but, that’s exactly the point! In challenging yourself now, you’ll send a powerful message to your admissions counselor that you are willing and able to challenge yourself in college.
Pro tip: Take Honors, A.P. and IB classes that will transfer as credit to your future college. Some high schools also provide an option to take college courses as a high school student. Talk to your school counselor about whether being a dual enrollment student is right for you.
Write. Write. Write.
Writing well is a skill that takes practice. Your college admissions essay is a huge part of your application (and standardized tests will also assess your writing). Get started by practicing your writing now. Write essays, fiction, poetry or even start a blog! Expressing yourself well will allow your personality to shine through on your college admissions essay.
Pro tip: There are two ways to write better: 1. Write and 2. Read. These methods work best together, so we recommend you read and write as much as possible. Since reading is a large part of college courses, regardless of your major, making a habit of reading can give you a competitive edge when you arrive on campus.
Follow these tips and your college application is sure to stand out!
Looking for even more college application tips? Check out Blueprint’s pre-college summer programs. Our programs are fun, personal and innovative – and college-readiness focused. We cover essential college and career readiness skills in every program. Check out the full list of our courses here.