Have you always wondered about the secret of getting into highly competitive colleges? When we had a word with some of the highly successful college applicants, those students, they revealed a couple of tricks to get into college? Here’s what a few recently graduated high school students have to say:
1. Be Proactive in your Highschool Years
These students are fond of creating their own learning and extra-curricular experiences during high school. They like to take charge of how they spend their time on and off school grounds. They are highly motivated, in addition to being proactive in leaning in for opportunities as well as asking for help when needed.
This solely means having some idea about where to begin in terms of where you’d like to be in a couple of years. Not necessarily having every single detail mapped out. Some things to keep in mind to get started are:
2. Develop good organizational skills and study habits
Successful college applicants learn to map out things well in advance. So, once you too learn how to set your priorities right - in terms of homework and coursework, you are pretty much sorted to get started. However, this does not mean not taking out enough time to relax or hang out with your friends.
But if you feel comfortable in your schedule and want to get ahead - then try to accommodate difficult subjects in your curriculum too. As admission counselors, look out for students who are willing to challenge themselves academically. They also like to see if you can prioritize long-term goals on your own.
Another trick is to turn off phones to focus on the assignment at hand to get things done quickly and achieve better results. To improve retention, you can start by adopting one of the most effective techniques. That is to actively quiz yourself rather than spending hours reading and re-reading information.
As a high school student, a load of extra-curricular activities is a no-brainer. Hence, it is a great phase to learn time management and organizational skills. This particularly includes to-do lists, managing calendars to multi-task, and having a system to track progress in homework and assignments. These kinds of soft skills are not only helpful in reducing stress in the short term but also helpful in mapping out long-term goals and planning effectively for the future.
3. Commit to something to deepen your interest
The best way to find out your true passion is by constantly trying out different things - until you find the one! As the learning shall not be confined to your classroom, which is why a few good ways to show on your transcript that you are genuinely interested in the world around you is to:
The admission counselors look for students who are initially well-rounded but end up demonstrating a genuine interest in something specific. When your transcript states a good number of activities such as - music, debate team, business conferences - it reflects your commitment to personal growth.
So, even though it's great to have all these mentioned in your resume, it is also important to have certain experiences in deepening the skills required to excel in your particular field of interest.
For instance, if you hope to pursue a career in Journalism. As a high school student, it'll be great to be a part of the debate team, write for the campus newsletter, work as an editor in writing clubs, be a part of the campus news team, and others to solidify your interest in that niche on your resume.
4. Build leadership qualities and strong networks
While choosing which activities to add to your resume, don't go out of your way by involving yourself in activities solely to please the admission counselor. Remember: You get to choose what you'd want to invest your time in. Even if it is something as unusual as writing stories for video games, mention it, make it count. And even if it is not, try to bring your unique perspective as to why you do what you do. The idea is to see how you make that common activity - yours by being absorbed by it. Thus, highlighting your leadership qualities.
Another important aspect of any college application is recommendations. Needless to say, these can be gathered from networks at school or elsewhere from the community, say, from LinkedIn. The only difference between a good and a great recommendation is the one that is truly earned. As many people might not be willing to hand it over to you, but there's no harm in trying. Always ask your subject teachers, your club mentors, or even the people you collaborate with on social channels like LinkedIn to give you a recommendation. It generally gives you an edge over the others.
5. Stay Curious and Stay Healthy
Think of being a part of all the other activities at school as different sets of experiences. One that will help you to excel better than your expectations in your high school years. If you are undecided at first, then being curious will actually get you one step closer to figuring out what you like the most.
So, to be productive all year round, you must follow a healthy routine for both - your physical and mental well-being. Do not make the mistake of committing to things that begin to feel like a burden. Do only as much as it feels comforting. Eat a balanced diet and get enough exercise and sleep to get you going through your days by learning to strike the right balance between work, play and rest.