Knowledge Bound: The RSC Blog

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Posted on Feb 24, 2014 - 09:00 AM | Applying to College

A students stares at a list of colleges and wonders how he can impress each one. While colleges generally look at the same requirements (strength of high-school classes, grades, SAT scores, etc.), they don’t all view them the same way.
So how can you make sure you’re a good fit for the colleges on your list?
How to Put Together a College Resume
  1. Don’t rely on high-school graduation requirements. They’re designed to help you graduate high school, not necessarily get you into the colleges you want. Find out the admissions requirements as the colleges that interest you. And do this as soon as possible. Don’t wait until junior year. By then, it may be too late to take the classes you need!
  2. Keep your grades up. Your grades should equal the average GPA of incoming freshmen if you want to be a good candidate. If not, keep the school on your “Reach” list, but be aware that it’s a long shot.
  3. Take Advanced Placement (AP) classes. AP classes serve many purposes. They act as de facto college prep. They let the college know you’re willing to work hard. And they better prepare you for your likely major. By taking the right AP classes, college admissions officers will know you’re serious about your chosen field.
  4. Do well on the entrance (SAT or ACT) exams. This may seem obvious, but do well on entrance exam and then discover what the average SAT or ACT score is for incoming freshmen. Are you close? Above that? Most colleges only consider your best score, so make sure you’re trending upward. A good SAT prep course should boost your score enough to impress some of the colleges on your list.
  5. Let your top choice know it. If the college knows it’s your first choice, you stand a better chance of being admitted. Just remember, you can only have one top choice. You can apply Early Decision to several schools, but you can only have one at the top of your list. Colleges love to know they’re your first choice and will take it into consideration when they review your application.
Finding the Right College for You
One of the themes in putting together a good college resume and application is knowing the admissions requirements at colleges that interest you. Admissions standards shouldn’t vary too much on your list of colleges, though you should have some range between your “Reach” and “Safety” schools.
Finding these standards requires some research. Since you’ll eliminate colleges from your original list as you discover your own needs, interests, etc., it helps if you can check the standards of many colleges quickly. You’ll also find side-by-side comparisons a real benefit, since you’ll be able to quickly remove note differences that match your record.
Once you have a list of colleges that are equal, or are slightly above or below your GPA, SAT score, academic ability and so on, you’ll be well on your way to having a list of colleges that are right for you. You’ll still need to visit them to make your final choice, but at least you’ll know you’re a good candidate for your list of colleges!


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