Things To Pay Attention To In Your College Search
Are you familiar with your high school’s profile?
Your high school’s profile contains information regarding course leveling, ranking policy, grading, weighting (or not) for grades and averages for standardized test scores. The profile is important because it shows an admission counselor not only WHAT is offered at your high school but HOW well you have maximized the curriculum.
Does a college know that you’re interested?
It won’t matter everywhere (think Ivy League schools for instance), but a lot of colleges are tracking just how much you interact with them before you apply. In order to make sure your application isn’t the first time a college hears from you, here’ a few ideas on how to best demonstrate your interest:
- Visit campus and attend an information session
- Email or call the admission counselor for your high school with any questions
- Connect with the college through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram
- Talk to admission counselors at college fairs
- Complete an interview if the college offers one
Do you know why you’re interested in the college?
One of the challenges I see seniors struggling with is the “Why Us” essays that a lot of the most selective colleges are asking applicants to complete. You can help yourself out now by identifying what it is about the school that gets you excited. Internships, interesting courses, amazing professors in your major, unique learning opportunities, exciting activities and sports, a new facility in your program – whatever it is, make a note of it so you can talk about it later.
How can you stand out?
Most colleges allow students to submit supplemental information whether it’s an art supplement, a graded paper, a writing portfolio, a science project or a resume. These opportunities allow students to demonstrate their unique talents and interests to help them stand out in the application process. With nothing but time ahead of you, take stock of what you do in your spare time, how you can demonstrate it, and consider how it may affect your applications. Even as a pre-med student, your talent in drawing or painting may be of interest to colleges.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to make the most of your college search. Start now so you can take your time researching and visiting colleges and, of course, doing awesome in school. Above all else, colleges want to see that you’ve done very well in the most challenging courses available to you. Without strong grades, not a whole lot else matters.