With admission rates dropping and expectations rising, the competition for top colleges is becoming increasingly difficult. The college application process is no longer a four-month task, but rather a four-year process that requires heavy-duty preparation and thought. Regardless of where you want to go, the reliable help and advice you need are right here.
Recommendation letters give your profile an extra dimension, and allow colleges to have an extra perspective on who you are. Therefore, don’t necessarily pick the teacher whose class you had the highest grade in; think about the teacher who sees you struggle and overcome obstacles, or the teacher who knows you on a personal level. When the time comes to ask them for recommendations, they will have many (good) things to say.
Both Early Decision (ED) and Early Action (EA) plans allow you to receive an admission decision by December instead of the usual spring time, and the due dates are usually early November. ED schools tend to have much higher acceptance rates, but because ED schools are binding, meaning you must attend the college if you are accepted, only choose ED if you are 100% committed and it is your top choice school. EA schools, on the other hand, are not binding.
There is no “right” number for any given person. However, the number of schools you choose depends on how much time you are willing to devote into each application, and how much money you are willing to spend. Keep in mind that when it comes to applying to colleges, quality over quantity. Make sure you apply to safety schools and dream schools, but most should be target schools.
If you have taken the SAT and are satisfied with your SAT score, then there is no need to take the ACTs. The ACT is a substitute test for the SAT; compared to the SAT I, there is more reading, harder math, and less time, and includes a Science section in addition to the Reading, English, and Math sections. The ACT is a great alternative if you are more of a fast-paced problem-solver.
Choose four out of eight of the prompts. These prompts are looking for times when you exuded positive influence to others (leadership), creative thinking (flexibility, confidence), and proactive academic pursuit. Get involved at school and in the community, develop problem-solving skills, and engage in academic subjects outside the classroom. Your involvement will allow you to have experiences worth sharing.
The best option is to take as many advanced, AP, IB or enriched courses as you can reasonably manage while still pursuing outside activities and maintaining high grades.