Lessons Learned from the College Application Season

Lessons LearnedThrough working with thousands of families over the years, we have learned quite a bit about how to get students into their dream colleges. We have also helped families get hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship offers including many full-ride tuitions.

We want to share with you some of the top strategies that have been working with our students this past application season so that you can be more prepared and successful in the college planning process. Here are the top five strategies:

  1. Prepare Early: The best time to begin preparing for college is as early as possible beginning in 9th grade, or even sooner. It’s never too early to develop a passion for reading or to develop solid math and science skills. College applications are completed during the 12th grade. However, what goes into the application is what students do throughout their high school career, from the courses they take to how they contribute to their school and community. Early preparation is key to a successful college planning strategy.
  2. Have a Game Plan: Students who have a game plan throughout high school with a goal of college acceptances are much more successful than those students who do not. It’s important to be strategic with the courses you take and how you spend your time outside of the classroom. Not every course will be treated equally in the college admissions process, and how you spend your time outside of the classroom should be focused on those opportunities that will give you leadership skills, depth of involvement, and meaningful contributions.
  3. Develop a Passion: It’s beneficial if you are able to showcase on your college application a specific interest or talent that you have cultivated throughout your high school years, and that you are passionate about. Even better is being able to highlight this interest or talent through measurable results in the form of honors and awards. Being passionate about something and enthusiastically highlighting your passion on your college application is given considerable weight in the admissions process.
  4. Be Proactive: Students who are proactive rather than reactive are much more successful with college planning. While some students complain about the problems they are encountering, other students find solutions. Proactive students understand that getting results means doing what is necessary to achieve a desired outcome. Seeking additional assistance from a tutor if they are confused about a subject or taking on a leadership role in an extracurricular activity are examples of students who have a proactive and winning mentality.
  5. Take the College Planning Process Seriously: Some students do not take the college planning process seriously, or if they do, it’s typically during their senior year when it’s too late. If a student is “ho-hum” about the college planning and admissions process, then that student can generally expect to receive “ho-hum” results when it comes to college admissions. If you want to be serious about getting into the college of your choice, and even to receive scholarships to help pay for college expenses, it’s important to take every step of the college planning process seriously.

These are the top five strategies that were most effective among our students when preparing for and applying to college. We hope these strategies will help guide you in your journey! Lastly, we are excited to be hosting a FREE webinar shortly that will go into more depth on the competitive college planning and application process. Look out for this webinar soon!

In Success & Achievement,
Dr. Jeff & Dr. Brian Haig