Applying for colleges can almost always be highly competitive and incredibly stressful. Here are five simple ways to get colleges to notice you above the rest:
1. Start freshman year of high school
You want to start out strong your freshman year. Get good grades, and don’t put off joining groups and clubs. Colleges don't just look at junior and senior year grades. All four years of high school count and impact a college’s decision. If you start thinking of college your freshman year, colleges are sure to notice you, and you may even get offered a scholarship.
2. It's all about the classes
When making your class schedules for high school, make sure you are taking classes that pertain to the area of study you plan to continue your education in. You want to pick classes that will better your education, not just because your friends are in a certain class. Don't just slack off and pick an easy schedule, because your application won't stand apart from the others. You want to show colleges you can challenge yourself.
3. Get involved
Don't just focus on the academic side of high school. Colleges look for students who were involved in the school and the community. Make sure to join clubs, teams, and participate in community events. This will show colleges you are active in your school.
4. Reach out
You have to let the college know you are interested in their school. Tour the college and talk to the advisors. You have to reach out to them and keep in touch. If you do this, your chances of getting recognized by the college later are higher, making it more likely you’ll be accepted.
5. Make connections
When you tour the college, make sure to talk to the students. Get their advice and ask questions. Talk to staff members. There is a chance when you apply for the programs that they will remember you, meaning there is a better chance of getting accepted.
Doug Peirick, guidance counselor at New Haven High School, was asked for his advice on getting colleges to notice high school students, and he responded with, “Your grades, the classes you take, and being active in high school clubs and activities are what colleges are really looking for.”