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Work towards taking challenging classes. Most schools offer Advanced Placement classes or honor classes that would look great on college transcripts. Reach out to your guidance counselors to help map out what is best for you.
College admission officers will notice. Feel like your grades aren’t up to snuff? Don’t get discouraged. There are colleges for just about every type of student. You just need to find the right one for you.
Research average scores at colleges to find out where yours fit in. Your test scores should be consistent with your grades. Many schools have moved to a test optional model for admissions, but some schools or majors within a school may still require standardized test scores for admissions. Check the admissions web page or call the admission office to find out what exactly is required.
A long-term commitment to activities - whether your activity is sports, debate club, science team, etc - demonstrates initiative and leadership, skills which are important to many colleges.
It's never too late to get involved. Join something in your senior year to broaden your horizons before heading off to college.
Giving back matters. It also has a positive impact on your high school transcripts. College are looking for students who will also engage outside of the classroom and make a positive impact on campus.
A steady commitment to a public service organization is more valuable than a short-time volunteer position.
Volunteer opportunities are generally not hard to find, check with your guidance office, local library and other community organizations.
A summer job or internship shows maturity, responsibility and financial planning. Keeping steady work during the school year, summer or internships, demonstrates maturity and work ethic that prepares you for college.
An important part your entire college application packet is the essay. This component is integral to many college's decision-making processes for several reasons. It is your one and maybe only chance to show the admissions team your personality, how you will fit into the campus culture, and what makes you unique.
Request letters of recommendation from teachers who know you and the quality of your work. Limit recommendations from other adults to school administrators, supervisors or coaches.
Be sure to check the admissions requirements from each schools, as the number of recommendations and from whom may be different from school to school.
Honors, awards, or other recognition that demonstrate your individuality. Be sure to list them all, as they all matter in representing you. Be sure to include everything from freshmen to senior year.