Senioritis can tempt even the most dedicated high school student, especially in the final semester of the school year. Summer sun is just a few months away! Nothing can change your odds of getting into the college of your dreams now, right?
Don’t be too sure. College admissions teams will start researching you the moment you express interest in attending their schools, and they won’t stop until you’ve pulled up to campus and enrolled in classes. Let your grades slip too far or score poorly on the ACT or SAT and you could end up regretting it.
Instead, double-down on good work habits and present your best self to counselors. Whether you’re a fresh-faced freshman or a seasoned senior, developing these five traits will show admissions officers you’re serious about continuing your education:
- Keep your grades up. A good overall grade point average (GPA) doesn’t tell a student’s whole story, especially if a high GPA is fueled by a few great semesters. Slacking off for a quarter or two early in your high school career and then making up the difference later tells admissions officers that while you’re capable of excellence, you might be too lazy to succeed at the more challenging collegiate level. Don’t send that message. Put in a consistent, honest effort and counselors will credit your persistence.
- Stick with a tough schedule. Keeping a good GPA can be difficult when you’re saddled with a full complement of Honors or Advanced Placement classes. Try not to drop them. Even if your grades bounce around a bit as a result, admissions teams will respect and credit your willingness to challenge yourself.
- Pursue classes with your career goals in mind. College counselors appreciate students with focus. If you know what you aim to do for a career, take classes that would help you prepare for work. (For example: AP Physics for a prospective airline pilot, or Intro to Journalism for a budding reporter.) And if you don’t know? Take a variety of challenging classes that speak to your interests and then evaluate your experience to narrow your focus. Either way, you’ll be communicating to admissions teams that you take the process of education seriously.
- Steer clear of trouble. Everyone makes mistakes, and a serious one won’t necessarily cost you your choice of college. But why take the chance? Choose your friends and your activities wisely and remain vigilant. The more trouble you get into, the more likely it is you’ll limit your college options.
- Watch your social media usage. Getting into trouble online can be as bad or worse than tangling with the law. Remember that the Internet has unlimited memory and that social media is meant to be shared. Avoid posting anything you’d be embarrassed to show your parents, because, odds are, they’ll see it eventually—and so will your college counselor.
Timeless truths are timeless for a reason
Today’s admissions officers have far more information about prospective students than did their predecessors. Keep that in mind as you progress in your educational journey and make it easy to report good things. You’ll be more likely to get into the college of your choice as a result—and perhaps get some scholarship money to go along with it.
So, keep your grades up. Maintain a strong schedule and pursue classes with your career goals in mind. Steer clear of trouble and, please, watch what you say on social media. College counselors are watching, and you want to be sure they like what they see.
There’s always more to learn.