Several factors are accounted for when determining whether students will gain acceptance into the college or university of their dreams, which is the reality for both undergraduates and graduate students chasing higher education. Standardized test scores, grade point average, participation in extracurricular activities, and well-written application essays stand among the various factors considered by higher-education institutions.
Though applying to your top-choice college can feel like a shot in the dark, a college acceptance calculator can help students adequately prepare for the college application process and brace for the impact of a potentially blindsiding waiting list letter.
For those students fearing rejection, the following tips will also prove useful when applying for your college or university of choice. Avoid tossing all your eggs into one basket, especially when your chances of securing admission into your top-choice college are low.
Start strong, finish stronger
Most institutions of higher education prioritize a competitive high school grade point average. Students who take on a challenging curriculum while maintaining a good GPA will receive brownie points.
High school students willing to take on a challenge should enroll themselves in Advanced Placement (AP) and college prep classes. Even if these classes aren’t available, earning the highest grades possible throughout their high school career will provide college applicants with the best chance of acceptance at the college of their choice.
Prepare for college admissions exams
Standardized test scores rank next-in-line in terms of importance, only behind a student’s course load and GPA. While some schools have started to make these tests optional for admissions purposes, it’s still an excellent idea for students to be as prepared as possible to take these exams, as some universities and colleges will require an ACT or SAT score prior to admission.
A good plan of action is to begin preparing for the SAT or ACT before your junior year of high school. Preparation methods include prep classes, one-on-one tutoring, practice examinations, and self-paced ACT/SAT test prep.
Once the student is sufficiently prepared, taking both tests is suggested. Because many accept both exams, you can try your hand at both and submit the most impressive score. While a three-hour exam can’t define your worth, a competitive score can help you outrank fellow applicants and guarantee admission.
Colleges want to know that the students they accept will enroll at the school without a second thought. One way for a prospective student to increase their odds is to demonstrate their commitment to the university. Students who possess a genuine interest in a particular college or university can act on this passion by visiting campus, scheduling interviews, and reaching out to school representatives.
Students who want to go the extra mile can contact professors in their department of choice, participate in any online seminars the school may host, and interact with the university’s social media pages. Taking these steps can help you avoid blending in with other applicants with similar skill sets and interests.
Collect letters of recommendation
Admissions officers use letters of recommendation to gain insight into prospective students’ personalities, unavailable through grades and test scores alone. When requesting recommendation letters, students should ask the authors of these letters to express their thoughts on the student’s accomplishments, skills, and personality.
Eligible candidates to write letters of recommendation include teachers, employers, and school counselors. After sending requests for these recommendations, provide those who agreed with a list of achievements. Letter writers will find it useful to refer to the list while penning their letter., especially if they mentored or supervised you several years ago.
Write a good quality admissions essay
An admissions essay will provide students with the opportunity to showcase their strengths and achievements in their own words. Unbeknownst to most, these essays can be the deciding factor between two candidates with similar grade point averages and test scores. Students who take the time to produce a unique and well-written essay will raise their stock with admissions officers.
When it is time to write, students should take a moment to familiarize themselves with the prompt and draw from the composite of personal experiences that shaped the person they have become. Students should use the first draft to get all their ideas out on paper. Efforts to improve the clarity of the writing can wait until it’s time for rewrites and revisions. A direct quote from a teacher or other trusted authority figure attesting to your skill sets can take your admissions essay to the next level.
Polish your online presence
While most college students in-the-making currently utilize their social media pages for posting snapshots of high school football festivities, prom highlights, and popular internet memes, it’s time to repurpose your social media accounts. As you transition into this new phase of life, it’s essential to appeal to potential employers and admissions boards.
Market yourself to your top-choice university by posting highlights from volunteer projects you’ve participated in, the latest projects you’ve been working on, or the recent study abroad you attended. These additions will show college recruiters you’re a well-rounded student with defined passions and interests. Should you choose to pursue a degree in communications or marketing, you’ll want to use your accounts to demonstrate that you can successfully manage a social media account and maintain brand consistency.
Finally, when tidying up your social media pages, you should also remove any content with profanities. Then, swap your casual profile picture for a more professional photo. When you put your best face forward, you can secure admission to an esteemed university.
The bottom line
The college application process can lead to disappointing results for students who leave the process to chance. Students who take a proactive approach and market themselves effectively to their college of choice will fare a better chance of acceptance.
Along with taking these additional steps, using a college acceptance calculator may also provide students with a heads-up on what colleges are looking for, helping them to develop a successful admissions strategy.
Jana Gray is a copywriting ninja with 15+ years of experience crafting copy for businesses, magazines and blogs. When she’s not typing furiously behind a keyboard, you can find her buried in a good book or exploring one of the Pacific Northwest’s legendary hiking trails.
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