Grades In College Prep Courses
Most colleges will consider your grade in college prep courses the strongest sign of your ability to do well in college. If you perform well in your AP courses, it suggests that you have the ability to take on the college workload. Even if you struggled early in your high school career, colleges will look favorably upon strong improvement in subsequent years.
How To Improve Your Chances Of Admission
Even as a B student, there are a number of ways you can improve your odds of getting into your dream school this depends on where you are in the college application process.
Here are some examples of things you can do to improve your application:
- Follow an SAT or ACT study plan and give yourself time to take the test a second or even third time if your scores aren’t up to par
- Come up with a compelling essay topic for your personal statement
- Spend the summer before your senior year doing something incredibly interesting, such as traveling abroad or volunteering
Remember that colleges consider a multitude of factors when evaluating your application. By strengthening any of these components, you can increase your odds of being accepted!
Broaden Your College List
Listening to the buzz about college admissionsin the media, in line at Starbucks, on College Confidentialits easy to feel that getting into the best colleges is all but impossible these days. Truth? There are actually only a handful of institutions that are exceptionally selective, like the Ivies, Stanford, MIT and, well . you know which ones they are.
Why so impossible? Because this short list is where every high-achieving teenager in every U.S. city applies every year. And every year, these universities will reject over 90 percent of applicants, despite their top scores, stellar transcripts, and packed resumes.
Take last falls applicants to Harvard University: an applicant pool of 42,749, including 3,400 students ranked No. 1 in their class. Harvard accepted five percent or 2,024, of applicants .
There are two ways to respond to this bottom line. One, you can pressure your teenager to be extraordinary academically and otherwise, all the while acknowledging the slim margin of victory. This path might lead to Harvard, but it will more likely lead to anxiety and depression. Or it may just make your teenager check out of academics altogether. And many students do once they realize they cant meet the near impossible admissions requirements of the most elite colleges.
Alternatively, you can look at other options.
Applying to all the Ivies will not help your chances of getting in, OShaugnessy stresses.
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Achieve A High Gpa While Taking The Most Challenging Classes Available
The best preparation for college is a balanced and rigorous high school curriculum, Macalester says. For balance you should take classes in all five academic core subjects: English, mathematics, history or social science, laboratory science, and world language. Students should challenge themselves by taking the advanced curriculum available at your school. Some examples include honors, Advanced Placement , and International Baccalaureate courses. Most applicants will complete at least 20 academic core courses by the time they graduate high school.
Your grades, too, should be high in your courses. The school will evaluate both your GPA and the rigor of your curriculum in the context of your high school.
If your GPA is lower, and youre earlier on in your high school career, check out our tips for increasing your GPA. If youre a junior or senior, it will be harder to increase your GPA, so the easiest way to increase your Academic Index is to get a higher test score.
How To Get Into Harvard And The Ivy League By A Harvard Alum
Getting into elite schools like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and others is a goal of many high school students. How exactly to accomplish this is often a mystery to students and parents going through the admissions process. Lots of unhelpful and vague advice abound, especially from people who have never gained admission themselves to these schools.
In high school, I got into every school I applied to, including Harvard, Princeton, MIT, and Stanford, and I attended Harvard for college. I also learned a lot about my classmates and the dynamics of college admissions in ways that were never clear to me in high school. Now, I’m sharing this expertise with you.
I’ve written the most comprehensive guide to getting into top schools. I’m going to explain in detail what admissions officers at Ivy League schools are really looking for in your application. More importantly, I’m going to share an actionable framework you can use to build the most compelling application that’s unique to you.
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Teacher And Counselor Recommendations
This is a really fun section. Usually you don’t get to read your letter of recommendation because you sign the FERPA waiver. I’ve also reached out to my letter writers to make sure they’re ok with my showing this.
Teacher recommendations are incredibly important to your application. I would say that after your coursework/test scores and activities/honors, they’re the 3rd most important component of your application.
The average teacher sees thousands of students through a career, and so he or she is very well equipped to position you relative to all other students. Furthermore, your teachers are experienced adultstheir impressions of you are much more reliable than your impressions of yourself . They can corroborate your entire Personal Narrative as an outside observer.
The most effective recommendation letters speak both to your academic strengths and to your personality. For the second factor, the teacher needs to have interacted with you meaningfully, ideally both in and out of class. Check out our guide on what makes for effective letters of recommendation.
Starting from sophomore year, I started thinking about whom I connected better with and chose to engage with those teachers more deeply. Because it’s standard for colleges to require two teachers in different subjects, I made sure to engage with English and history teachers as well as math and science.
The Grand Overview: Getting Into The Ivy League
How top schools do admissions:
- Nonprofit schools exist to create value in the world.
- In the process of college admissions, schools want to maximize the value they create in the world.
- Thus, schools want to admit students who will eventually change the world.
- What does it take to change the world? Deep focus, passion, and competence.
- How do you predict which 17-year-olds are going to change the world eventually? Deep, prior achievement: prior success is the best predictor of future success.
What this means for your application:
- You need to develop a huge spike in your application. You need to show deep achievement in an area of your passionsomething that sets you apart on a national or international level.
- Admissions is not a crapshoot for everyone. If you’re a super strong, compelling applicant, admissions at a top school is almost certain. If you’re weak, you’ll likely get rejected.
- “Well rounded” is the kiss of death. Well rounded puts you in the crapshoot because you are similar to all other well-rounded applicants.
What this means for what you should do:
- You need to reorient your time around focusing on developing your spike. To develop a big spike, you need to focus and work hard.
- Dream big. What is your area of passion? If you had infinite time, what would you try to accomplish in this area?
- Cut out everything that doesn’t matter. This means AP classes you don’t need, extracurriculars that don’t add anything to your application, and other time wasters.
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Mistake : No Extracurricular Focus
People think that colleges want to admit well-rounded students, Shemmassian says. So students join as many clubs and teams as possible and try to pursue leadership positions in each one.
In reality, Colleges are actually looking for student bodies that are collectively well-rounded, comprising a bunch of specialists who together are an incredibly well-rounded and diverse student body. Theyre not looking for students who do a little bit of a lot of things.
Instead of being Jacks of all trades, students should figure out what theyre really passionate about, then become a specialistwhat Shemmassian calls a Michael Jordanin that area.
But what if a student doesnt know what to specialize in? What if she doesnt feel she has natural talent in any one area?
It starts very small, Shemmassian says. So if the student is interested in art, they might start out with just doing their own artwork, maybe teaching other students in their community to paint, maybe its students from a low-income school that dont have resources or access to art classes and things like that. So you can see what your student demonstrates interest in and take that step. So youre exploring at the beginning.
Bonus: Answers To Frequently Asked Questions
At this point if you’ve been reading carefully and thinking critically, you probably have a bunch of questions. I’ll answer the most likely ones here that come from the perspective of both student and parent. If you have any remaining questions, feel free to leave a comment below . I’d love to hear from you!
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Tips For Getting Into The College Of Your Choice
College admission officers carefully assess your high school grades, courses, test scores, essays, activities, recommendations, and interviews, if required. You will increase your chances of getting into the colleges of your choice by following these twelve tips:
How Did We Create This List Of Colleges For B Students
We compiled this list of great schools for B students by looking at various ranking lists, including US News, Forbes, and Niche. We gave extra weight to the US News rankings because they’re the most referenced and prestigious of the college rankings.
We considered a college accessible to B students if its average GPA for admitted applicants was less than a 3.75. If you’ve got a weighted GPA in the range of 3.30-3.80, all the schools below could be reach, target, or even safety schools for you. If your weighted GPA is less than 3.30, you might also want to take a look at the best colleges for students with a low GPA.
By no means does this list contain all the great colleges for B students. Ultimately, we tried to come up with a diverse list that included colleges from all regions and of all types, including large public universities and small liberal arts colleges.
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Jump To Specific Sections In This Guide:
- Bolstering Your Academic Profile When it comes to admissions, academics are essential.
- Prove Youre a Well-Rounded Student Whats a well-rounded student? Thats you, after you read our tips on how to make your application really stand out.
- Get Involved in Your Community Your community can be an important asset in helping you get into your dream college.
- Show Youre a Hard Worker Hard work pays off, and this couldnt be more true when it comes to applying for college.
- Write a Killer Admissions Essay Your admissions essay is crucial in granting you the edge that you need to stand out among the other applicants.
- Get Glowing / Balanced Recommendations Believe it or not, recommendations can make or break an application so make sure your letters are up to par.
- Get Plugged into Campus Early The earlier you get involved, the better your chances of admissions will be.
- Go the Extra Mile By putting in extra effort upfront, your chances of getting in only improve.
- Never Give Up Motivation is key to getting into your dream college. Let us share a few tips on how to stay on top of your admissions game.
Carefully Review Each Medical Schools Mission Statement And Communicate Fit In Your Application
Although most top medical schools are seen as one and the same, youll still need to communicate how your experiences and interests make you a great fit for that program. To learn what each program cares about specifically, read each schools website and get in touch with current students.
Many students mistakenly believe that by being overly complimentary of a schools offerings, location, or reputation for excellence, they can win over admissions committees. However, schools already know what they have to offer! Instead, you should aim to discuss your background and why you would be a good fit for the school.
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This Is The Crapshootand The Crapshoot Sucks
Having talked to admissions officers and witnessed admissions discussions at Harvard, I find it shocking how random admissions can be if you’re a marginal acceptance.
Admissions officers often go “by gut.” Something about your application can pique their interest and focus their attention. Equally likely, something about you might give your reader a bad taste in her mouth. And now, because your reader presents you to the admissions committee, suddenly you’re fighting an uphill battle.
To be honest, if you’re indistinguishable from other candidates, your admission doesn’t really matter to them. Admissions officers do honestly want to create the best class possible, but at the end of the day this will mostly sort itself out. So unless you really strike a chord in the reader, she won’t fight that hard for you.
This is the critical difference between students and colleges in how they view a single application. In your mind, your application is a special snowflake, constructed carefully piece by piece over years of your life and deserving hours of scrutiny by the school arbiters.
You want to avoid the crapshoot. The crapshoot is not fun and it’s not for you.
What Is A Spike And How Can You Develop One
This is really important, and it’s my biggest point in this entire guide.
A spike is what sets you apart from all other applicants. It goes against the spirit of simply being well rounded. By nature of being unique, you don’t fit in with all of the other well-rounded applicants you do something that truly stands out in a meaningful way.
This spike requires consistent effort, focus, discipline, and passion to grow. Ideally, this spike is what makes you world class and makes colleges think you’re going to accomplish great things in your lifetime.
A spike can come in a lot of forms depending on your field of interest. If you’re a scientist, it might mean doing compelling, original research at a local college. If you’re a writer, it could be publishing a book. It could also mean competing at the national level as an athlete, or creating a successful app as a programmer.
What we’re looking for is something truly impressive that is difficult to do and sets you apart from the bargain bin of well-rounded students.
If you’re dismissing my advice because you think, “There’s no way I can achieve something that unique and that notable,” please keep reading. It’s not as impossible as you think it is, and I’m willing to bet you have the core capabilities for doing this.
Don’t let fear about your own limitations hold you back into complacency.
You can tell from my picture above that the round part of the big spike is smaller than that of the well-rounded ball. This is intentional.
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How To Get Into Top Colleges For Undergraduate Courses
Most of us start dreaming about studying abroad when we are in the school itself. Most study abroad applicants are usually clueless about how to get into the top colleges. Getting admission to colleges abroad is a process very different than getting admission in India. While admission process to Indian colleges is very quick and hassle free, where most of the times your scores in 12th standard are considered, colleges abroad consider more than just scores. You need to prepare yourself for the task at least two to three years in advance from the beginning of the session year. This task is not as difficult as it seems, with proper planning and profile you can easily get into any college of your choice.
Most study abroad applicants are usually clueless about how to get into the top colleges.