6 Tips to Help You Get into College
July 04, 2022
You have been working hard at school for years, listening to your teachers, putting in the hours of homework and assignments and now here you are! Ready to apply to college and start off on this incredible journey into adulthood and hopefully the career of your dreams! It is an exciting time. What will the future hold? Who will you meet? What will you learn? But, before you allow the daydreaming to begin, here are 6 tips to make the step into college that little bit closer. The hard work is not over yet!
1) Plan for your SAT or ACT test.
The great thing about the SAT and ACT test is that there is technically no limit as to how many times you can take them – pass or fail – however each test costs money. Although some colleges have dropped this as a requirement since Covid made life so difficult for people at school, it can still be useful to get this one under your belt. This multiple-choice exam provides colleges with a single result which they can compare all students across the country with. It acts as a barometer for colleges to see how well you perform in the context of all your peers from across America. Normally done in the spring of your junior year or fall of your senior year, whenever you choose to take it, be sure to leave enough time for a retake if you want to elevate your scores and give yourself a better chance of getting that college spot.
2) Build up your portfolio of extra-curricular interests.
These days, it simply is not enough to study and get grades. Although grades will always be the most important criteria guaranteeing entry to colleges, increasingly, top colleges all over America look for applicants who have an extra string to their bow: something that shows they are really willing to go the extra mile and knuckle down to achieve success. However, it is important to bear in mind that it is definitely quality over quantity here, with assessors looking for significant extracurricular achievements in their applicants, rather than those who try to cram in as many activities as possible into their time. So, don’t get stressed trying to do something active every moment of the day either. Choose your preferred extra-curricular activity wisely and remember to rest too! If you wanted to, you could even take a gap year before college to travel and give yourself extra time to build up your experience. Have you considered teaching abroad? Plenty of people use this as a way to add interest to their application in time for college. This can be a fantastic way to show you mean business when it comes to applying yourself. Take a look at this course which can help you to earn while in college.
3) Get organised.
You are going to have a lot on your plate as you approach the end of your school career and get ready for your college career. Multiple subjects to think about and various school and extra-curricular commitments will mean you need to design yourself a schedule. Time to get your highlighters and squared paper out! Sit down and put some time aside to make your own study timetable. Organise your week so you know when your extra-curricular activities happen, when you’re likely to have the most assignments and when you might need some free time. Remember you need to rest too! Planning your week can work really well, but remember that you might need some flexibility. Perhaps you’ll plan your math slot for Monday evening, but once you get home from school you find yourself preferring to do your English assignment instead. You could try having some blank hours planned for study, but which you can fill as you need.
4) Choose a way to organise your study time.
Now you have your timetable to guide you through the week, have a think about how you work best. Do you naturally find yourself working for longer periods of time stopping only for lunch and comfort breaks? Or are you easily distracted and need a little self-discipline? For those of us in the latter category, you might find the Pomodoro Technique helpful: chunk work in sessions of 25 minutes followed by a 5-minute break. Complete 4 of these chunks in a row and you earned a 15-30 break!
5) Study, study, study.
Now you have your schedule and desired time management system in place, it is time to get your nose to the grindstone. Unfortunately, there is just no substitute for putting in the hours and keeping that learning fresh. You can make things easier and more exciting for yourself by throwing in some practice papers, researching for study guides and games and asking your teacher for suggestions. More and more colleges are also giving their students the flexibility of e-learning.
6) Get familiar with your desired colleges.
Learn what your colleges like to see. Have a look at their website, send an email to a college tutor or see if you can speak to someone who is at that college already. Perhaps someone in your family has gone there, or a friend or a friend is studying there. Use your contacts! How was their application process? What made it easier? People usually want to see you succeed and will be willing to help you with a little advice. You can then use all this advice to tailor your personal statement.
Featured image: leightrail, iStock.