May 7, 2015
The college process can be daunting and takes up most of your senior year. Here are my 10 tips for the college process.
1.Numbers: GPA, test scores, and class rank matter. Sure, there are exceptions, but that’s how you will get into college. The better the number, the better the chance that you will have of being accepted. These numbers are also important in that they help determine what scholarships you receive.
2.Resume: Throughout high school, make sure you build your resume. It’s important to write down all the community service you do, so you can tally up all your hours. Also, find a place so you can keep going back for community service. Leadership is very important. Get involved in clubs, then run for an office or join a class like journalism where you have the opportunity to be an editor. Awards and honors are also very important to put on your resume. Trust me: it’s nice having a resume when it comes to applying for college and scholarships.
3.Summers: It’s important to do things over the summer. Sitting at home, playing Xbox, or binge-watching your favorite Netflix show isn’t going to write your college essays. The summer before your senior year is crucial, so start looking at opportunities. I did a week-long program that was only $300 and I did a two-week program that was free. Opportunities are out there, you just need to go out and find them.
4.Research: Do your research! Having an idea ahead of time of where you want to apply will save you a lot of time. Read US News and learn what the best schools are for your intended major. There are some great schools that you probably haven’t heard about and you might end up applying there.
5.Fee waivers: Fee waivers are a blessing. It’s amazing not having to spend $70 on an application. Look out for college emails in your inbox and really consider applying to schools if they offer you a fee waiver. I started looking into colleges in August and I started looking into Fordham University and then the next day, I got a fee waiver. Also, if you qualify to apply for Questbridge, I would highly recommend it. It’s for students who come from low economic backgrounds and even if you aren’t a finalist, you can still get fee waivers to top schools.
6.Scholarships: You hear time and time again that there are many scholarships out there, and though there may be a lot of scholarships, not everyone can apply for them. Many scholarships are restricted to first generation college bound students, or if you are presidential scholar you can’t apply for a specific scholarship. But it is important to note you could get merit-based scholarships from the colleges you apply to. However, outside scholarships might be a little harder to receive.
7.Early Action: Many schools offer early action and I would strongly recommend taking up this offer. Early action is applying to a college early, usually by November 1, and receiving your decision in mid December. It’s a great feeling knowing you were already accepted to a university instead of waiting till the end of March.
8.Safety-Match-Reach: When you start looking into schools, each school will either be a safety match or a reach. It’s important to apply to a safety school. Also, apply to in-state schools as soon as possible. The ASU application takes no more than 20 minutes to finish, so get it done in August. When it comes to safety, match and reach schools, there is no guarantee that you will get into a certain school, but your odds are better at schools that accept 85% of applicants.
9.Statistics: Statistics are true. It is so hard to get into a school that has a 6% acceptance rate. Most people get rejected from these selective schools. Many schools are even dropping their acceptance rates. It’s a tough pill to swallow knowing there’s good chance that you will likely be rejected, but hey, at least you tried!
10.Expense: College is expensive. It costs a lot for tuition, room and board, and other expenses. Once you get all of your financial packages, make sure to compare them and really look at where you can get the biggest bang for your buck!