For those of you who are looking for tips on what to do in high school to get into college of your dreams – this post is for you! I have identified four areas that will make your college application shine.
Back in 2013, after my daughter was born, I had opportunity to serve as an ambassador for the Gates Millennium Scholarship. I spoke to students from several high schools in my area, and boy, did I love it!
In my experience, people working in admissions for these four areas to be strong.
Academic Performance (AKA Grades!)
I have great news! If three out of four of these areas pop, that is more than good enough to make you a highly qualified and high-caliber applicant.
I was accepted to several top tier universities. Guess what? I did terrible on the SAT! Acceptance letters still rolled in because my application showcased my strong academic performance, involvement in community service, and leadership roles I took on. A friend of mine had the minimum requirement for community service but was very strong in the other three categories and she got into MIT! The lesson is, do not stress about perfection. If you are already strong in the four areas, that’s an amazing feat. What is most important is to have a well-rounded high school experience!
Now, although I am suggesting that three of the four be strong— I do not mean to abandon the fourth! Do try your best and work hard in all four areas. Your grades should always be as best as you can maintain them. Join as many school activities and organizations as is enjoyable and comfortable for you. What I do not suggest, is letting anything be all consuming.
Trying to perfect all four will almost certainly be a drain on your energy and may wind up making certain areas weaker. For example, if I would have spent countless hours studying even more for the SAT, I would have never had the time to plan a 5k to raise money to support the Down Syndrome Association or had the time to enjoy a trip to New York with the photography club!
So there you have it! Lesson one— schools want a well-rounded student. My action item for you: Reflect on which of these three areas you can focus on. Again, we don’t want to abandon any category!
Stay tuned because my next post will be all about how to make the best in each area.
My bachelor’s and master’s degrees are in education, however, I do not work in an admissions. All suggestions given from my extensive experience!
By Betty Carricaburu, Ms.Ed