If you are beginning your senior year of high school, you might be worrying about how you can possibly increase your chances of getting accepted to your top college choices. You’ve worked earnestly for the last three years and that work has all been excellent preparation. Now it’s time for the next stage – the application process.
11 tips for high school seniors applying to college
Here are some tips to help you make the most of your time during this critical year:
- Stay calm, but take action!
You have a lot to do, and now is not the time to freak out. Get organized, make to-do lists, and get to work. And relax – don’t forget this crucial element!
- Take the necessary standardized tests
Better yet, if you have time, consider an SAT/ACT prep course.
- Stay on top of your classes
Yes, you’re busy, but your grades still matter. Don’t let your grades drop.
- Continue your involvement with extracurricular commitments
Not only is this sort of involvement good and healthy for you as an individual, you never know what may happen in the future and if you end up taking a gap year or reapplying to college next year the activities that you’re participating in now will matter.
- Critically evaluate your overall college application
Ask yourself: Are you short on demonstrated leadership? Consider taking on a leadership role in an extracurricular activity – maybe an officer in an existing student group – or found your own club dedicated to something you are passionate about. How about community service engagement? Consider organizations in your school or community where you can engage with others in the support of worthwhile causes. Are there any subject areas that you struggled in? Consider taking a few SAT II subject exams to demonstrate strength in other subjects. In short, try to think of ways to make up for perceived shortcomings.
- Identify college choices
Try to find around 10 colleges that are a good fit for your career interests, desired locations, school size, extracurricular offerings, and other considerations that are important to you. Check out their first-year student profiles to get a sense of the qualifications of the typical admitted student.
- Finalize college visits
Take notes and get contact information from schools for follow up.
- Select teachers and ask them for letters of recommendation
Choose teachers who can speak to your strengths and character. Ask them early enough (several weeks prior to your deadline) so they are not in a rush to meet your deadline. Consider meeting with them to discuss your plans for the future. Whenever possible, prepare a resume so they can see the sorts of activities you are involved with both inside and outside of school.
- Track deadlines
Be aware of application deadlines and create a spreadsheet of all dates and requirements so you don’t miss anything.
- If you have not already done so, write (and rewrite) your college application essays
Get going ASAP and remember to include any school-specific supplemental essays. The drafting, writing, rewriting, editing, and proofing will be a time-consuming part of your preparation. Don’t leave it for the last minute.
- Talk to your high school guidance counselor
Set up a meeting with your high school counselor to go over your plans and timeline.
Keep your eye on the prize
You are juggling a lot of responsibilities but that’s a reality in life. Take a deep breath and do your best as you look toward your future at one of your top choice schools!
Give yourself the edge you need to successfully tackle the college admissions process when you work one-on-one with an expert Accepted consultant. Explore our College Admissions Consulting & Editing Services for more information on how we can help you GET ACCEPTED.Marie Todd has been involved in college admissions for over twenty years. Marie has both counseled applicants to top colleges and evaluated 5000+ applications for the University of Michigan's College of Literature, Science and the Arts; College of Engineering; School of Kinesiology; School of Nursing; and Taubman College of Architecture. Want Marie to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch with Marie Todd.