Stand Out From the Crowd
Beyond getting the best grades you possibly can, what else can you do to make the college of your choice send you the fat envelope in the spring of your senior year? Depending on where you go to high school, much of the time great grades just aren't enough to guarantee your admission to some schools. In many places, this news is old, and so now most high school students come to college with a resume of volunteer work as well. In addition to students who are well-rounded educationally and service-oriented, schools are looking for people who can add something special to the university setting. When applying, you have to keep in mind that a lot of people with really good grades are going to get rejected because they lack the X factor. On the other hand, if you have a terrific specialty - you're a star athlete, you're an opera singer, you spent your summer in Costa Rica building houses, for example - a school might look past a GPA that's less than 4.0 because of what your special gifts will add to the college setting.
Develop a Specific Rationale For Why You Want to Attend This College
The admissions staff knows that their college is a desirable one, but why should they pick you to join its community? As you research the college of your choice, write down the reasons why you so passionately want to go there. When filling out your application, refer to these reasons. The admissions staff is looking for people who will be a great fit, and a great addition to the college. How can you show you're right for them? Maybe you really admire the articles you've read in the newspaper by one of the economics professors, and you can't wait to study with her. Maybe this college offers a class that you know from your research no other college does, and you badly want to take it. If you show the admissions officers not just that you're an outstanding high school student, but also an outstanding high school student who's taken the time to learn about their school, and who can prove to them specific reasons for why they should pick you, how can they not?
Have an Interview, and Make it a Great One
Some schools make interviews optional. With so much pressure on you to get your applications in while finishing high school in style, you might be tempted to take them up on this option. You should not. Whenever possible, interview with the colleges you're interested in. If you can't make it to the college, often you can interview close to home with a representative from the school. The interview is another chance for you to make your very well-reasoned, enthusiastic case for yourself.
Review more industry related articles by Elizabeth Saas at CareersandEducation.com Elizabeth Saas is a CareersandEducation.com feature writer that often covers topics relating to Campus and Online Degree Programs and Career Planning .