How to Get Admitted to Your Dream College

Learn how to get admitted to your dream college or school, shared by others who did just that.

Last updated on July 17, 2024 by College Financial Aid Advice.

UCLA 1

UCLA, one of the top 20 national universities

Getting Into Your Dream College

Written by Julian from California

 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.

H ow to get admitted to 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.


The Next Big Stepping Stone

How to Get Admitted to Your Dream College

Written by Murdock from California

It never seems like the day will come but the next time you look at the calendar it will almost be your senior year of high school and you will need to start looking for and applying to the college you want to go to. This can be a difficult task, but doing the right things to prepare can make this entire process a breeze.

From the very first day of High School you should take your academics seriously and challenge yourself as much as possible. When I was in high school I always tried to fill my scheduled with the most difficult classes such as AP, IP, and Honors. Colleges really like to see that you can handle many difficult classes at one time, because that is essentially what college life is like.

On the topic of showing your college you have what it takes by filling your schedule, make sure you get tons of extracurricular activities and volunteer hours. On every college application I filled out, there were usually 5 short essays where I had to give example of my sports, volunteering, school clubs...etc. That was one thing that gave me a hard time when filling out college applications, because throughout high school I never really thought those things were important. If I would have done more of those things my college applications would have been much stronger than they were.

Finally another key to how to get admitted to your dream college a breeze, is to never be afraid to ask for help. Whether it be an academic questions, a poor grade that you want to try and redeem, or even talking to the counselor. These people are being paid to help you out, and most of them love to see a student really trying to make something out of them self.

To this very day I still have multiple teachers and even my guidance counselor that I email and keep updated because of the relationships I made with them in high school. Without those people I may not have ever made it to the school I wanted to go to.

Thinking about your future can be a scary and very exciting thing. No matter what grade you are in preparing for college is never a bad thing to do. If you can follow my advice, the advice of your counselor, and your own common sense of what is the right thing to do, you can stay ahead of the curve and college application time will be a breeze. The day will come when you open that first acceptance letter and jump for joys and get to brag to everyone. Believe me it is truly a prodigious feeling


Art School and You – Admission Tips

How to Get Admitted to Your Dream College or Art School

Written by Cynthia from Idaho

So you’ve finally decided to pursue a college education in the arts, but have no idea where to start. Despite the daunting process, small tips can go a long way. I’ll start with the biggest piece of advice I can offer: if you have a “top” school, visit it in person! Although essential to all college students, art students require even more consideration for the feel of the campus and student life. No matter what type of art you do, you’ll collaborate, communicate, and interact with your classmates a lot in college. Connections make up the base of the art industry, so make sure your potential classmates appeal enough to make long-term connections with!

After picking your top school, it gets a bit more complicated. Most art schools require a portfolio, but even if they don’t, send one anyway because merit scholarship consideration revolves around it. Some schools require more creativity in your portfolio than others, but all will want to see observational studies. This includes drawing people, interior spaces, landscapes, and objects from live observation. Get started as soon as possible! If you want to get good at drawing, do observational studies frequently and draw daily. And producing good art under extreme pressure and time limits never ends well. So pay attention to your school’s portfolio requirements and start early. The better your artwork, the more financial aid you’ll receive. And with rising tuition, you’ll want the extra help.

Next, admissions usually look at a statement of intent, or a short essay, often required in the application. I recommend writing about a significant event in your life relevant to the prompt (try to show instead of tell), but definitely keep whatever you write mostly in active voice. You may not think much of writing as an artist, but the colleges want to see you can communicate with both words and pictures. You won’t make it in the industry without writing skills!

And finally, attend National Portfolio Days, if possible. Taking place all over the country, NPDs offer informal reviews of student portfolios by admissions officers from several schools. However, these sometimes overcrowded but free events make getting to many tables difficult. Arriving at the doors early and heading straight for your top school allows for the best outcome. And remember, despite your personal preference, take their advice seriously. Also remain fearless, despite feeling as if they’re judging your heart and soul instead of canvases or a slideshow. Shy, antisocial artists without confidence won’t make it far in admissions or in their career. Neither will arrogant lazy ones. So community service, art awards, and leadership positions better your chances at admissions as well!

Above all else, maintain your individuality, no matter how strict or harsh the admission requirements. Great artists add personality to every stroke, line, and pixel possible! You’ll have no problem getting accepted anywhere if you make a lasting and positive impression.


Start Early, End Strong- Getting Into Your Dream College

How to Get Admitted to Your Dream College

Written by Daries from Hawaii

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.


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Thanks too our readers for their tips on how to get admitted to your dream college or art school. Read more about college admissions help and financial aid at the links below.

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