Seniors in the class of 2017 have just recently finished submitting most if not all of their college applications to various colleges across the world. While the nearly-college ready students are breathing in relief, there are still millions of current high schools students who aspire to gain admission into the best school they can. Here are some general guidelines and words of advice for future college applicants seeking entrance into prestigious universities.
One of the common hearsays that go around is that universities love well rounded students, and so some students try to juggle everything at the same time. While being involved in numerous extracurriculars may impress colleges, it is far more beneficial to specialize in something. Colleges do not necessarily want a well rounded student; they want a well rounded class, made of star athletes, math geeks, scientist geniuses, passionate programmers, amazing writers, etc., not a class made of a whole bunch of kids who can do a little bit of everything. It is important to find something you are passionate about and pursue that passion as much as possible in high school.
Grades and test scores are still quite important. It is extremely difficult to convince the admission officers to admit a student with a poor academic profile in the applicant pool. Future applicants have to remember that universities are academic institutions before all else. However, spending too many resources on stressing over the SAT or ACT is not a good course of action either. It is recommended that high school students start preparing for the standardized tests as early as they can and finish them with a satisfactory score as early as possible, so that they can focus on other aspects of their application. The important word is satisfactory, as a few extra points here and there in standardized tests will never “make” an application.
Lastly, students should invest much of their time at the beginning of their senior year into crafting their college essays, especially for private universities. These essays allow each student to show his or her personality and humanity – it would not be an exaggeration to state that without the essays, each student is simply a number and a brief resume. Writing about commonly used topics like playing sports or participating in a common community service activity should be avoided. Applicants should instead write an essay that truly distinguishes the writer from the other applicants that highlights the strengths of the applicant with a unique, personal voice.