What Your High School Counselor Won’t Tell You About Applying for College

High school counselors know a lot about applying to college, but they might not know everything or you might simply not think to ask. The process of applying to and getting into schools is complicated and can be tricky if this is your and your parents first time doing it. That’s why it’s so important to learn all you can, whether from your high school counselor or an outside source. Here are a few things that your counselor might not tell you when you’re applying for college that you might like to know.

You need to start applying early. The earlier you start applying to colleges, the better your chances of getting accepted may be. Some schools have rolling admissions, meaning you can apply at any time, but slots will fill up as admissions progress, making it harder and more competitive to get in the longer you wait. Apply early to give yourself the best chance of success.

Colleges will pay attention to your cumulative GPA. You won’t get analyzed just based on your grades from junior and senior year. No, those bad grades from freshman year will still haunt you when you’re applying to school. Students should also be aware that schools often convert GPA to their own scale to ensure all students are evaluated on equal terms.

Being a top student doesn’t guarantee acceptance. You might get straight A’s, bet at the top of your class, and have a ton of extracurriculars but it doesn’t mean you’re going straight to the Ivy League. If you want to go to top schools, you have to perform well in every aspect because you’ll be up against some stiff competition.

You need to visit colleges. Looking at photos online won’t tell you what it’s actually like to go to a school. Many a student has arrived at a dream school only to realize it’s a poor fit. Take a few days off of class to visit schools in person and see how students there like attending classes and the general atmosphere. It can make choosing a college a whole lot easier.

Applications for colleges should range from stretch schools to backups. You shouldn’t just be applying to Ivy Leagues. Instead, applying to schools that are your top choices, some that are mid-range and some that you know you’ll get into. That way, you’ll have options in case your top picks don’t pan out.

Make sure you’re ready for the college application process by talking to your counselors and doing your own research as well. Remember, you can’t ever know too much when it comes to college applications!

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