The Road to College

For many students, the college admission process starts in the fall of their junior year, when they take either the PSAT or other preliminary standardized test, and continues until December of their senior year, when most applications are submitted. Before students enter the admission frenzy, here are few tips to help them get prepared for college admission process.

8 Tips to Prepare for College

  1. Take Up Challenging Courses: Students should be academically well prepared and try to take up tough courses offered in high school. Such that they are ready to deal with the fast-paced college workload.

  2. Take SAT or ACT: These are the two major college entrance admission tests in the United States. Colleges require all students to take either one of these tests to achieve a minimum score and gain acceptance into a college program. Students should plan and prepare deligently to take the SAT or ACT in their junior or senior year. Good scores in these tests matter in seeking admission to desired colleges.

  3. Make a List of College Criterion: Students should invest time in putting together a list of criteria most important to them in selecting a college. Factors to be considered include: location, size, academic programs, student profiles, campus environment, co-curricular activities, scholarship opportunity, financial aid, transportation, housing and others. This will help students weigh each factor and identify their desired list of schools.

  4. Make a List of Çolleges to Apply: The next step is to come up with a list of colleges in which a student wishes to seek admission. Students should be realistic and apply to schools which are reachable and weigh high in their desired criteria. A good practice is to include one or two "fall back" colleges in the list. These are institutions which the student is confident to get admission into, and can fall back on in case others don't work out.  

  5. Visit the Selected Colleges: Once students have established which factors are most important to them and have narrowed down the schools which meet their specified criteria, it is important that they visit their desired list of schools before making a final decision. Students should plan to visit all colleges on their desired list and spend as much time as possible at each institution. Also, it is a good idea for students to have their family accompany them.

  6. Contact the Admissions Office: Prior to the visit, students must contact the admissions office to notify them of their campus visit and seek a convenient time to meet so that the admission officer can give time and address all queries. This way, students can make the most of their visit and may even have the opportunity to meet current  college students and faculty members. During the visit, students should observe their surroundings and make a mental note of questions, which can later be addressed with the admission officer.

  7. Take Notes: After each visit, It is a good idea  for students to maintain notes about what they liked and disliked about each school. Once students have experienced multiple campus visits, their notes will help in identifying the pros and cons of each college, as well as serve as a guideline for selecting their school of choice from their desired college list.

  8. Capitalize on Available Resources: For adequately targeting the right schools, students must make use of all resources available: they should attend college fairs, meet with college representatives, visit all desired schools, read the literature they receive, talk to counselors, use social media to learn more about select schools and try to network with current students to get as much information as possible. Students should explore lots of options and seek information aggressively.

Here are few resource links to further help a student in their college admission process.