How to Get Accepted By Prestigious U.

How to Get Accepted By Prestigious U.
  • Opening Intro -

    If your goal as a high school student is to get accepted by Swarthmore, Duke, Harvard, Stanford or Yale, you've set your goal to go after the highest-tier schools in the land.


Ivy League, Duke, Stanford and other top-notch schools.

Some people place the Ivies above all the rest, but most any reputable list (including Forbes’ America’s Best Colleges)includes Whitman College, Pomona College, the United States Air Force Academy and the University of Chicago on that list. In any case, you’ll find that the acceptance rate at most prestigious colleges and universities is below 20 percent, even in the low single digits for arts conservatories such as Julliard.

If you are a family of means, you may take the approach that high net-worth families take and that is to hire a professional counselor to help you make application to a college. These counselors, who work independently, charge large fees to open doors that are routinely closed even to the top students. Just make sure you tell mom and dad that they’ll have to fork over as much as $40,000 according to Andrew Ferguson, writing for The Week.

For everyone else, entrance into Prestigious U. will be based a lot more than what you did in your senior year of high school. Indeed, some schools will look at your academic and volunteer record dating back to middle school to help them separate you from the pack. The following are some tips on how you can improve your chances of getting accepted by a top-notch college or university:

Your Resume

— Do you think that resumes are only for people who have a work history? Think again. Many college applications want detailed information about you. Some will call specifically for a resume. You’ll need to work with your high school guidance counselor on the particulars, but your resume should offer details of your academic progress including the Advanced Placement (AP) classes you have taken. Your volunteer activities, extra-curricular activities and your part-time work can also be included. You’ll list your GPA and SAT scores too. Of course, the higher these averages and scores are, the better.

Know the Demographics

— Colleges and universities are seeking to become much more diverse, welcoming students from across the ethnic and racial spectrum. Schools are also searching for students globally, with highly selective schools welcoming applicants from across the globe. If your family is wealthy and white, just know that you may find it more of a challenge than ever before to get into a selective school. Of course, if Daddy donates enough money to fund the new arts school building at Prestigious U., you may find that your application gets special consideration.

Make Friends With Alumni Network

— Prestigious schools have large endowments, funded by generous alumni donations. Your family may not have the means to financially contribute to a school beyond paying room and board, tuition and related expenses, but you may already be friends with people who have graduated from that school. In that case your alumni network can be tapped to offer you advice on how to get in. If you happen to also work for an alumnus, his or her letter of recommendation can carry some additional weight for you.

Show Your Passion

— It isn’t enough to want to get into any school. You need to have a passion for a certain area of study, one that goes beyond the norm. Independent college admissions counselor Audrey Kahane notes that students need to have the “initiative to learn about subjects that fascinate them.” This means that AP classes may not be enough — reading academic journals related to your area of interest demonstrate a passion that can set you apart from other students. Seek out experts in your field of interest too and spend time with them. This demonstrates your passion and can help open doors that might otherwise be closed.

Whether you gain admittance into Prestigious U. or not, your desire for attending college should be for self improvement and academic enrichment. A highly selective school may be desirable, but it might also be unattainable. There is nothing wrong with attending a college that isn’t named among the top-tier schools if that school advances your interest in a specific area of study and prepares you to embark upon a successful career.

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