Many people have a tradition of making New Year’s resolutions. Common resolutions include exercising more, eating healthier, and being more financially responsible. If you’re a high school student with a goal of attending college, the following resolutions could increase your chances of being admitted to your dream school:
- Get better grades. At most colleges, the number one factor in admissions decisions is a student’s high school transcript. If your first semester didn’t go as well as you had hoped, take steps now to improve your grades second semester. If you struggled in a class because you didn’t understand the material, ask your teacher for help, identify classmates with whom you can study, and consider seeking additional assistance if you need it (i.e., online videos, private tutoring). If you got a bad grade because you slacked off, start the semester by keeping up with the reading and homework and putting in adequate time to study for tests. For those of you are seniors, it’s important to maintain good grades second semester. The college you choose to attend will ask for a final transcript, and there have been cases where colleges have rescinded admissions offers due to a significant drop in grades second semester.
- Take more challenging classes. In addition to your grades, colleges also look at the classes you’ve taken. They want to see that you’ve challenged yourself by taking rigorous courses if your school offered them. These classes could be honors, advanced, AP, IB, or dual-enrollment. Some schools will let you switch into a more advanced class at the beginning of second semester (i.e., moving from a non-honors biology class to an honors biology class). If your school doesn’t allow that, consider taking more challenging classes next year. Many high schools have students register for the following year’s courses as early as January or February, so that will be happening soon.
- Get involved. Colleges seek students who not only have excelled in the classroom but who also have participated in school and/or community activities. If you like to run, why not join the track team? If you enjoy playing video games and want to create your own, see if your school has a chapter of the Technology Student Association. Whatever your hobbies or interests, find out if your school has a club that aligns with them, and if there isn’t an existing club, inquire about starting one. Additionally, you might find opportunities in your community beyond what is available at your school. If your out-of-school time is dominated by family responsibilities or you need to work, don’t fret — those are considered activities, too.
- Plan for the summer. Given the recent weather in much of the United States, summer probably seems a long way off, but the end of the school year will be here before you know it. Now is the time to begin investigating summer opportunities, especially since many programs have application deadlines in the next couple months. See this blog post for suggestions of ways to spend your summer and factors to consider in deciding what to do.
These are just a few suggestions of resolutions that will help improve your chances of being accepted to college. Of course, making a resolution isn’t enough; you have to actually follow through with it.