Tipping the Scale in Your Favor

Tipping the Scale in Your Favor

As more students are becoming increasingly competitive, seeking 4.0 unweighted GPAs, 2400 SATs, and 36 ACTs, the light of hope seems to diminish in the sea of darkness. But as we know, not all supposedly “perfect” candidates are accepted by their number one choice, nor do the “under-qualified” have zero chance of getting into their dream school. Here are some tips to make colleges want you in their community:

1. Demonstrate your love for the school.

Learning about the colleges of your choice should have been done while compiling your application list. If you have not done so, do it before writing application essays and attending an alumni/admissions officer interview. Talk about the resources or aspects that attracted you to that college – which professor’s lab project, what intramural sports team, what campus culture, etc. Colleges love it when you have given their school proper attention.

2. Highlight essays

Application essays are one of the few ways to present yourself beyond an academic perspective. Colleges want students who can fit into their environment. So just be yourself; feel free to express your opinions and tell stories that formed who you are right now. Showcase your passion and past. Also, using vivid and descriptive language can boost authenticity and form a better 3-D image of yourself.

3. Contact admission rep/student leaders

If not done excessively, regularly checking in with admission representatives in your area or student leaders can help  make an impression and show dedication. Show a lot of interest in them and prove how much you REALLY, REALLY want to join them.

4. Utilize technology

Compile the things you can’t fit into application forms into a web portfolio. Sometimes there will be a place in application forms to put the link. But even if it doesn’t, you can always email the admission officers the link to display a more complete image of yourself.

Meanwhile, technology can also hurt you. Admission officers from many schools will track you on facebook or require you to add them. So clean your account and watch what you keep for permanent online record.

Side note: Account privacy does not really protect you

5. Supplemental CDs, visual portfolio, newspaper, magazine etc.

Similar to web portfolio, these are some other ways to show how outstanding you are as an athlete, musician, writer, scientist etc. Don’t overdo it though. Keep in mind admission officers have limited time and they only review records from summer before freshman year and on.

6. Start early and finish strong

Most importantly, be proactive from the first day you step on high school campus. Explore your passions and commit to them. Just balancing among academics, extracurriculars, and sleep already shows your extraordinary organization and planning skills.

Have anything you want to add? Drop us a line in the comments!