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A Guide to College Admissions

McKenna Beard, Videographer/Graphic Designer

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Getting into college is not an easy task. The journey to being accepted into your first choice college starts your first day of freshman year.But worry no more: Here’s some guidance to help you achieve your goals and get into the college of your choice.

 

You should begin looking at colleges the summer before and during your junior year. When you find colleges you’re interested in, schedule tours. This will help you get a headstart on deadlines and decisions, and it’ll ensure you’re on track to be a competitive applicant for the university you wish to attend.

 

Nowadays, colleges and universities have become more competitive than ever before. That being said, to have the greatest chance at acceptance, you must be a competitive applicant in regards to the college or university’s general standards such as average GPA and SAT/ACT scores and community involvement.

 

Being involved in at least 2 activities every school year is great idea (activities such as sports, UIL academics, and clubs). Try to obtain leadership positions within your extracurriculars if possible–it will look better on applications.Doing community service and getting a part-time job isn’t a bad idea either.

 

Grades and ACT/SAT scores play a major factor in acceptance. When looking at general averages, its best to be above them if at all possible. If not, don’t worry. The higher your GPA, the lower your ACT/SAT score can be, and vise versa. Of course, it’s not recommended you play off of this, but if worse comes to worst keep this in mind. Prep books are available for both the ACT and SAT and are highly recommended. You should be looking to take your tests starting in February of your junior year.This gives you time to retake the tests before summer applications open if you are not happy with your score. Be sure to check college averages to see where you fall among other applicants when deciding if you should retest.

 

With extracurriculars, volunteer work, grades, and ACT/SAT scores can ensure that you are a well-rounded, competitive applicant.

 

If you have a 4.9 GPA and a 1500 SAT score and don’t understand why this is important, here’s your answer: Let’s say Auburn University is filling their last spots for the incoming freshman class and it comes down to 2 candidates. Person #1 has a 4.9 GPA and a 1500 SAT score and only one extracurricular for their high school career while person #2 has a 4.5 GPA and a 1300 SAT score, holds multiple leadership positions in extracurriculars and has a part time job. Even though person #1 has higher grades and test scores, colleges and universities are more than likely going to choose person #2 for being a well-rounded individual who will bring experience and leadership skills to their campus.

 

Moving onto actual applications and deadlines, it’s important you stay on track with timelines, as it could affect whether you get into your dream college or not. Some applications open in June, but most open the first of August and September. Early Action applications generally close December 1st. When deciding whether to apply early action or regular decision, check the universities website to check the differences as not every college does the same thing. Once you have applied and been accepted, apply for the Universities’ scholarships as soon as possible. Many colleges and universities close the scholarship application in January, which is why it’s crucial you apply as early as possible.

 

Of course, make sure you fill out FAFSA and apply to other scholarships that are not offered through your chosen university. Confirmation deposit deadlines are crucial as this is what secures your spot at the University. At most colleges, you cannot apply for housing or do other things until this deposit is made.  Speaking of housing, the earlier you apply for housing after you have made your decision, the better. This will give you a greater chance at getting the housing you want.

 

Be realistic in planning. If you plan to apply for an Ivy League school such as Harvard, make sure you have all bases covered, so if you are accepted, worries such as financial issues and housing are covered. Remember: If there’s a will, there’s a way. Nothing’s impossible if you work for it. The more work you put in, the more you get out.

 

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A Guide to College Admissions