Your road to college starts well before you begin the application process. What you do during the months leading up to the application deadlines will have a significant impact on your success during this process. Here are five things that you can do to ensure that you get ahead in the college admissions process.
Make a Plan
The best way to put yourself in the position to succeed as you navigate this road is to plan ahead. Start by making a list of schools that are of interest to you. You can then begin researching them online to hone in on the possibilities. There are a number of resources that you can lean on to determine if a school will be a good fit for you academically.
You should also map out a general schedule to follow so that you do not miss any deadlines. For example, when do you need to begin taking the standardized admissions tests so that you have the results in plenty of time to meet the application deadlines? Having a game plan will help you to feel more confident that you are staying on track.
Familiarize Yourself With Schools
Familiarizing yourself with schools will help you to get a jumpstart on the admissions process. After researching schools online, you should pick a few of your leading contenders to visit in person, if possible. It is also a good idea to have a plan B and C if your top choices do not pan out. When visiting a school, be sure to walk around the surrounding neighborhoods so that you get a good idea of the vibe of the area.
College fairs are another excellent resource when exploring potential schools. These comprehensive events are a good source of information about prospective colleges and universities. Because the schools generally send representatives, these fairs are also an ideal opportunity to make some personal connections.
Prepare for Admission Exams
In addition to a strong GPA, you are also going to need to make sure that you have competitive test scores before College Admissions. A test score is one of the first things that a college admission rep will look at to weed out prospective students. You will advance to the next round of consideration if you have a strong score on these standardized tests.
One of the few benefits of COVID-19 is that many of the most reputable test prep organizations now offer online tutoring. Harness this opportunity by finding the best ACT tutoring online service so that you can master the various sections of this test. Be sure to find a vendor that will offer you a customized test prep plan suited to your personal strengths and weaknesses. It is also recommended to allow time to re-take the test if you want to improve your score.
It is never too early to start networking. The relationships that you make early in your high school career will likely be the same people that provide references and letters of recommendation to you as you jump into the college admissions game.
In addition to teachers, look to mentors such as coaches and high school counselors to help you in this journey. It is important that you do not burn any bridges during your high school year. Guard your reputation carefully so that you have a well of people to dip into if you need a recommendation or reference later down the road.
College admission officers look for prospective students that have been able to demonstrate that they can juggle multiple responsibilities. It may not be enough to have a stellar GPA and high test scores. Some of the most selective schools will be looking to see how you spent your time during the high school years.
Did you participate in school athletics? Were you involved in clubs or other extra-curricular activities? Volunteering your time to a service organization is another great way to make yourself stand out on the application.
There is no doubt that this is an exciting season in life. You can make the most of this time by making sure that you jumpstart your future by preparing well in advance of the application deadlines.