Starting your college list is an exciting time but can also be overwhelming with so many options and a wealth of information available at our fingertips. Before you begin your search, it is important to consider what you are looking for in a college experience. To learn more about this process, click here and here.
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Creating a best-fit college list is a process that you must commit to. It takes time, reflection, and research. As you begin creating your list, remember that you want to find a college that will help you grow academically AND personally. Asking some core questions about yourself during this process and answering honestly is essential for you to zero in on the range of schools that appeal to you. Ready to begin exploring colleges in more depth?
The following are a few tips to help you prepare for your college application process ahead. These tips cover a lot of ground. It can seem daunting at times, but take a deep breath and look at this as a challenge that your are up for and that you have lots of resources to lean into.
Make Academics A Priority:
Once you have an idea of where you would like to apply, it’s time to start building a long-term relationship with these schools far in advance of the application season. Meaningful contact with multiple school reps over time helps you authentically “demonstrate interest” in attending. Your established and documented interest differentiates you from other equally qualified applicants and could very well be the difference between a yes and a no!
Whether you are a sophomore just starting to think about colleges, a junior visiting schools on your “right fit college list”, or a senior trying to decide among schools that have already admitted you, the college visit can an important opportunity for you learn more about both the college and yourself.
With so many colleges to think about (3,500 in the United States alone!), one of the most common questions we get asked is “Where the heck do I start?!”
Great question. And while you may be tempted to just refer to the rankings, we urge you to resist! These lists are more often based on artificial distinctions and subjective opinions. But even more importantly, these “rankings” ignore the most important information – whether or not the school is the right fit for you.
Reaching out to admissions representatives in person at an event or by email is a great opportunity to add give them insight into your personality, values and goals through the questions that you ask. It is also a great way to demonstrate your interest in the college; an increasingly important way you can tip the scales in admissions decisions (colleges want to pick candidates who will pick them).
If you have a rigorous course load, stellar test scores, and a packed activity list you are in pretty good shape. However, many others are in your same boat and YOU have to stand out even more.
Admissions officers want to see beyond your academic and personal resume to understand who you are. More specifically: how will you enhance the campus and ultimately become an influential alumnus? If your application can showcase that – then you are in really great shape!