Student Council member Mica Almira shares some words of “been there, done that” wisdom for seniors and early-bird juniors who are already looking into colleges. Her comments below are excerpted from her blog for The Pacific Daily News. Here are three tips for applying for college.
1. Choose safety, match and reach schools: Stanford. New York University. Duke. University of Chicago. Harvard. I get it. They’re your dream schools. Frankly, some of them were mine too. But it’s important not to get misguided in your college search.
Remember to do research. It’s important to know key things about the schools you’re thinking of applying to: average grade-point average, average SAT/ACT scores, acceptance rates, sports, etc. This way you’ll have some guidance as to which colleges fit you best.
Have at least one safety school, a school you know that will definitely accept you. Your grades should surpass their criteria in all aspects. Have at least two match schools, schools that fit the glove in terms of your GPA, SAT/ACT scores, and extracurricular activities. And finally, have at least one reach school, a school whose average statistics slightly surpass yours but you feel you have a chance of getting accepted.
2. Start on your essays early: You are truly more than a test score. Yes, grades are important but so are your extracurricular activities and personality. Colleges look at the holistic development of the applicant, not just the GPA. They look at a student’s character and commitment to activities. Take advantage of this opportunity to show off your true colors through your essays. Another important thing to note is that formulating the perfect essay isn’t a one-time shot. It takes time and countless revisions if you want to really “wow” the admissions officers.
3. Lastly, do not procrastinate: Need I say more? Procrastination is the go-to method of studying for high-school and college students alike. A 2014 study conducted by StudyMode, a company dedicated to helping students succeed in school, discovered that 87 percent of high-school and college students procrastinate on a regular basis. Yikes! Colleges will know whether you procrastinated on an essay and/or application. You may not think they noticed once you get accepted, but think about it. If you didn’t procrastinate, maybe you would have gotten a larger scholarship or been accepted into your dream school. Who knows? Why risk it?