Getting Into Your Dream College

by Julian Gomez
(Pomona, CA, United States)

Columbia University

Columbia University

I want to give you guys some tips about the college application process and how to secure your spot at whatever college you really want to go to.


Step 1: FRESHMEN TROUGH SENIOR MATTER!

Even though you may think "Oh it's just freshmen year" and you don't have to get perfect grades because some colleges only look at sophomore and junior year grades, you should be getting high grades. The only way to make sure you get accepted to your dream college is to get straight As throughout your whole high school years!

Step 2: TAKE HONORS AND AP CLASSES

When applying for college you will learn that colleges request transcripts that have all your grades since freshmen year, so having honors and AP classes will demonstrate the admissions committee of the dedication and potential that you demonstrate to your academics and if you are getting Straight As in these classes you will have an advantage of other students who are also applying to the same college.

Step 3: GET INVOLVED!

If you have not yet been involved in community service throughout your life you need to start looking at that and find ways to become involved in your community and school. Join clubs and do a lot of volunteering to demonstrate you are a well rounded person. Join a sport try it out and you might end up getting recruited by you dream college and be offered a great scholarship! Making sure you have endless extra-curriculars on your application will reflect who you are as an individual outside of the classroom and academics.

Step 4: START YOUR APPLICATION EARLY!!!

If you are sure what college you really want to go to you should begin looking into their application and figuring out what exactly is required so you have plenty of time to finish the application efficiently. Spend enough time with your personal statement and do not just try to finish it all in one sit in. You should take several weeks to edit and revise your personal statement. I know this sounds ridiculous but trust me if I would have spent more time perfecting my personal statement I would have had a higher chance into one of my top choice college. So remember start your application early and write a well thought over personal statement. Have people revise it for you and give you feedback as all this work will pay off once the admissions counselor reads your personal statement. And think of a unique approach to your personal statement and do not stick to the original autobiography.

Step 5: SAT AND ACT!

These two tests will become highly critical for your college acceptance! You need to spend countless hours studying for this tests. If you are a parent you should begin to prepare your child as early as middle school if possible to make sure they are prepared once the official one comes. Avail yourself to practice SAT tests on college board or ACT/SAT practice books sold at local bookstores. The earlier you prepare for the SAT/ACT the more successful and higher you will score on the test. Also take the PSAT during sophomore year to get a taste of what the SAT environment will be like and get an idea on what you should be practicing more to increase the score.

Getting into your dream college is easier than you think all it takes is time management and dedication. If you follow the steps I have presented you should be set to go to your dream college! All the components that I presented are critical ones that will help decide your admissions into your future college.


Read more College Admissions Help from other students and parents who have been through process.



Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Julian for sharing your tips on getting into your dream college. You’ve offered some great advice. Best of luck to you.


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Start Early, End Strong- Getting Into Your Dream College

by Daries
(Honolulu, Hawaii, USA)

Getting into college is probably one of the most challenging events a person has to face. As a senior in high school who didn't even know the admissions processes for colleges, I found it difficult to apply for the colleges I wanted to go to. Along the way, though, I've learned many invaluable lessons on how to make getting into college a much more attainable goal.

First thing's first: If ever possible, both students and parents should begin to talk about college early. It is never too early to talk about your future education! As a volunteer worker at a public middle school, I was surprised that they had a college counseling office, and multiple school banners all over the school. I learned that the government has started programs to get students who are soon going to enter high school educated on college and helping them set future goals early on. If I had known my freshman year what college applications would be like, I would have started to work on my current education and skills much earlier- learning how to write a good college essay, focusing on schoolwork, etc. The earlier you know about the college admissions process and what is required by most schools, the better chance you have of getting into a college you want.

Of course, I feel as a personal issue this is something most people hate but can't get enough of: procrastination. Do not- I repeat, do NOT!- procrastinate on college applications. It brings too much stress to you and will most likely bring the quality of your application down. A college essay written the day before the application deadline will probably not be the most well polished essay you could have done. Taking your time- say, starting very early on and revising it and meeting with your English teacher(s)- would ensure you are able to coherently get your character across and deliver it adeptly. Being that the college essay is possibly your only source of personal contact with the college before this point, it is critical that you take the time to write as well as you can.

Another lesson I learned was that unless you were an extremely talented athlete or artist, focusing on your studies during high school is extremely important. Slacking off will do nothing for you at all. This is not very unique information, but I definitely did not take this seriously at all until around junior year. I always had the impression that colleges were not too concerned about freshman and sophomore grades. I never completely gave up in any class, but I will admit that I had been less concerned about a B- on a test those years because it was a very low impact on my college career. To anyone reading this: Do NOT believe that! While it won't be the end of the world to get a B- or even a D on a test, allowing yourself to continually be relaxed about subpar grades will hinder you in the long run. In truth, it is easier to lower your GPA than it is to increase it. Getting a 4.0 in both junior and senior year would only raise your cumulative 3.4 GPA to a 3.6- and while any increase is positive, having been consistently at a level that reflects your ability to learn would have been much easier and less stressful. Higher GPAs would also allow you to apply and/or qualify for higher merit scholarships. If I had known how much of an impact a couple of low tests/homework grades freshman year would have affected my ability to obtain money for college, I would have thought twice about living out my ridiculously active "social life" freshman year.

Colleges also like it when students show their interest in a school. Going on college visits, communicating with colleges, etc. gives the you a better sense of your prospective college, and more importantly gives your prospective college a better sense of who you are. If you continually kept in touch with a college, the college would assume that you are very interested in enrolling there and would be more willing to offer you admission- seeing a familiar name will let them know you are willing to attend and will help you more than if you were a name out of the blue.


Remembering to start early, avoid procrastination, be serious about school, and show interest in your colleges will help you obtain that longed for admission to college. Sure, it will be hard at times, and you may not see the benefits at the moment, but it will all pay off in a while, when you receive in a letter from the college of your dreams and finally see that all your hard work has paid off.


Read more College Admissions Help from other students and parents who have been through process.



Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Daries for sharing some great tips about Start Early, End Strong - Getting Into Your Dream College. Best of luck to you.


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Make It Easier to Get Into the College of Your Dreams

by Edgar Castro
(Firebaugh)

Columbia University

Columbia University

Personally I have a lot of great tips when it comes to admission into the college of your dreams and how to stand out from other applicants. A lot of people think that simply because they have outstanding grades they’ll get in but this isn’t the case most of the time. A lot of colleges are looking for people who will make their university stand out from others. A lot of admission officers are looking for special qualities in the people that apply so that their university could build a name for itself. I would recommend for people to set up an interview with the admission officers in order for them to get the real side of you because in letters people come off differently than in person. Also applicants should lose the silly email address they created when they were twelve. When you submit something to the college the first thing they see is the email addresses and if it’s goofy then they’ll take you as a joke.

Applicants should show interest in that certain college at an early point in their pursuit to get admitted into it. Take advantage of college fairs and other opportunities to collect information about different schools especially if the fair is at that college you dream of attending. Show the admission office you’re really interested into getting in. Many institutions will keep track of the students who seek out information, updating their files every time prospective students make a campus visit or take a tour. Usually the future applicants who attend career fairs and such get on various occasions before applying for a college get their names recognized by college officials and therefore have a better chance at getting admitted into it.

Visit as many colleges as possible, ask lots of questions, spend as much time as possible at each institution, and, if possible, have your family accompany you. Not only will you get a feel for campus life, but you'll be expressing your interest in the school as well as have an opportunity to ask important questions. Aside from showing a genuine interest in being a student at the school, the best thing an applicant can do is complete the admissions requirements within the stated deadlines.

The most important thing a student can do is take high school as serious as possible to better ensure their enrollment in the college of their choice. Be sure to take the most challenging high school courses you can handle. Strong academic preparation makes you a better candidate for admission and greatly improves your chances for success in college.

Take either the ACT or SAT as a high school sophomore, if only to practice, get on some college mailing lists, and determine your relative strengths and weaknesses as compared with students throughout the country, students against whom you may be competing for college admission. Take both the ACT and SAT, after preparing diligently for them, in your junior and senior years. It’s important to stand out academically through your high school career so that you can ensure a spot in the college of your choice.


Read more College Admissions Help from other students and parents who have been through process.



Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Edgar for some great advice on how to make it easier to get into the college of your dreams.


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