Getting Accepted Into College — Things to Do and Know

Introduction

Getting accepted into college can be a nerve-racking process for students, especially if they are the first in their families to go to college. There are many things that students need to know before applying to college, and even more things they need to know once they are accepted. 

The college acceptance process can be an extremely exciting time for high school seniors and their families, with the promise of a bright future just around the corner. Unfortunately, some students and families jump the gun and apply to a number of colleges without thoroughly researching certain aspects of the college acceptance process.

Getting accepted to college can be stressful and confusing, especially when many applicants feel they have to choose between their dream school or a safety school. Since there is no single college admissions process and every school has its own set of standards, it’s important to understand the basics of the college acceptance process, including what to expect from the application process and how to write a standout college application essay.

Know What Colleges Are Looking For

The keys to succeeding in college go beyond a solid GPA and SAT scores. Colleges want to know that you’re ready to be successful in college. Below are six traits that college admissions officers are looking for. As parents, it’s important to remember that though you may know your college-bound child better than anyone else, your child has a unique set of strengths and interests. 

These skills can help them adapt to new situations in college:

  1. Be organized and on time: Being organized and on time are two traits that will take you far in life. Being organized means having a system in place that will allow you to maximize your time and be prepared for events before they occur. Being on time means that you are ready for any event that is scheduled and you are not running around like a chicken with your head cut off.
  2. Be adaptable to new environments: As a student, you will have to get used to new environments, people, and classes on a regular basis.  Here are some tips on how to become more adaptable to your new environment. The first step is to take some time to explore your new environment. This is a good time for you to sit back and observe. What are the people like? What are the classes like? If you’re moving to a new city, you’ll also want to explore what the city is like.  Next, you want to develop an understanding of how the new environment works.  How does the new class work?  How does the new town work?  What are the rules and expectations of the new place?
  3. Set reasonable goals: Acceptance into college is a huge step in a student’s educational career, so it’s important to enter that stage with realistic expectations. Most top colleges receive more applications than they can accept, so you’re competing against thousands of other applicants. A good record of strong grades and extracurricular participation (trips, sports, volunteer work, etc.) will give you the best chance of getting accepted, but setting your sights too high is a recipe for disappointment.
  4. Give back to your community: It is important to give back to your community to help make it a better place.  You don’t have to make a large difference, and it can be as simple as smiling at a stranger or holding the door open for someone.  Even if you think it’s not a big deal, you never know how you can positively impact someone’s day, week, month, or year.
  5. Work well with others: If you really want to succeed, you need to make sure you can work well with others. If you’re an extrovert, this process will be easier for you, and you may not even need to think about it. If you’re an introvert, however, you’ll have to learn how to interact with people, how to give and take constructive criticism, and how to be a good team player.
  6. Display leadership skills: Your future college, university or trade school wants to know that you are a leader. That means you have a plan, and you work toward that goal even when things get tough. You are an active member of your school, volunteer in your community, and you participate in activities outside of school. You are organized and you know how to prioritize tasks. Most of all, you are accountable, and you know how to take on responsibility and how to follow-through.

Find Colleges That Fit Your Needs

One of the biggest steps in the college acceptance process is finding the schools that are the right fit for you. It can be overwhelming to search through the hundreds of colleges that exist and keep track of which ones you like, so we did the work for you.  After analyzing the data, we concluded that the most important factors in selecting the right college for you are: a good financial aid package, proximity to family and friends, and a campus that is committed to sustainability.

Improve Your Grades

The college acceptance process is as much about a student’s academic record as it is about their extracurricular activities, their volunteering history, and their admissions interview. Students who want to improve their chances of acceptance can take a number of steps to demonstrate to colleges that they have what it takes to succeed. The most important thing you can do to boost your college performance is to attend class regularly. By skipping class, you are not only hurting your grade point average, but you are also diminishing your chances of success in other areas of your life that require drive and motivation.

Understand Standardized Testing Scores Expectations

According to the US News, the most important factor in college admissions is the student’s standardized test scores. According to the US News, a student’s standardized test scores are typically based on their high school grade point average and the scores they receive on the SAT, ACT, PSAT, SSAT, and/or GMAT exams. The truth is that a student’s standardized test scores are only one of the many factors that colleges will take into consideration when determining if and how much they will accept a student.

 When students take standardized tests like these, they must think about the following things: which test do I want to take, where do I want to take it, and how can I get the best scores possible.

Standardized test scores, like the SATs and ACTs, are not the end-all be-all of the college acceptance process. And if your scores are low, don’t despair.

Here are a few options that can help you increase them:

  1. Consider a prep class.
  2. Prepare with a good test-taking strategy
  3. Consider buying one or more review courses.
  4. Consider uisng Test Prep books.
  5. Consider using a private tutor to help in your preparation. Matheaze Tutors has helped students get into the colleges of their dreams – community colleges, state colleges, private colleges, and Ivy League colleges.

Write Personal Essays That Are Not Overly Exaggerated

The college admission process can be overwhelming and confusing. One of the most common mistakes students make when applying to schools is writing an essay that is overly exaggerated. Admissions officers are looking for a genuine and interesting student and will take into account any inaccuracies in an essay. When applying to college, admissions officers want to see that you are a well-rounded individual with your own interests. They want to know that you will be a positive addition to their campus and community.  If you are trying to hide or exaggerate something in your past, it is better to be honest. Admissions officers will understand if you have a difficult past. It is better to be honest and straightforward.

A good personal statement is sometimes the best way to set yourself apart from the pack. Colleges want to get to know you, and your essay can be your best opportunity to show them what makes you special. As you write, try to include a mix of the following components: Honesty – This should be your first priority. You don’t have to share your deepest secrets, but try to avoid exaggerating or misrepresenting yourself. Unless you’re telling a joke, never say that you’re an “outgoing individual” or that you’re “not afraid of challenges.” If you want to share something serious, find a way to be sincere without being serious.

Apply early

College acceptance is complicated, and the earlier you start thinking about it the better.  Here are some things you need to know about the process:  Most colleges have deadlines for submitting applications and financial aid forms.  You should submit your application as early as you can and send your financial aid forms as early as you can, but you should still submit your application by the deadline.

If a school you want to go to is a great fit, you should apply while you still can – not just because there is a deadline, but because there are many reasons why you don’t want to wait. The number one reason why you should apply early is because of the cost. The earlier you apply, the earlier you get your acceptance letter. The earlier you get your acceptance letter, the earlier you can let the school know you are planning to attend there.

In some cases, applying early can have benefits, but in other cases it can have negative consequences, so you should talk to your guidance counselor to find out whether it’s a good idea to apply in the first round of applications.

For more information about the college application and acceptance process, contact us.

1 thought on “Getting Accepted Into College — Things to Do and Know”

  1. Yemisi Onibokun

    This is such important information to help students. Thank you so much for the detailed steps parents can use to inform and guide their children.
    Thank you Matheaze!!!

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