As a high school student, it may be easy to get swept up in the riptide that is your high school career.  There are so many things on your plate that it becomes difficult to keep sight of preparing to go to college, let alone following the steps to creating the life you want.  Students may have a very vivid picture of what they want their lives to look like thirty years down the road.  The first step to achieving your dream career is choosing and getting into your dream school.  These are ten simple steps to choosing and being accepted into the school that suits you most.

Step 1: Be picky! 

This is where students will decide on a major as well as other criteria for their dream school.  Students should choose 2 or 3 potential majors and make sure that each of the schools they view has them.  Students will also need to determine what criteria of a school is most important.  This can be anything, including: distance from home, types of clubs and activities on campus, and even the student enrollment (how large or small a school is).  Once students determine what is important in their fictional dream school, it becomes much easier to find that dream in a real school.  (Helpful Hint: If a school does not have the desired major, it should automatically be bumped off of your dream school list.)

Step 2: Your Top 10 Dream Schools

This is most likely going to be the hardest step for a student. There are a plethora of wonderful schools so students will find it easy to get overwhelmed with the possibilities.  To avoid this, students should use what they came up with from step one to find 10 schools that meet at least fifty percent of the student chosen criteria.  Students will then place the ones that meet all criteria at the top of your dream school list and work backward from there.

Step 3: Visits

This is without a doubt the most important step (aside from the application itself).  The more schools a student visits, the more opportunities they have to ask the important questions.  Students should, however, always make sure that the schools they classified as dream schools take first priority! These visits could be a spur of the moment trip to the admissions department of a university, a weekend trip to multiple colleges, or a schools’ planned Open House! (Helpful Hint: Many schools provide application fee waivers at their Open House.  This means that once the application is finished and you are ready to submit it, they will have given you a code on a piece of paper that you can input to submit it for free!)

Step 4: The ACT/SAT 

ACT/SAT testing is absolutely vital to gaining acceptance into any university.  Students will first need to determine which test they are going to take, ACT or SAT.  Once a student decides which test to take, they’ll need to decide when to take the test.  Once this step is completed, they’ll need to begin preparing for the test as well as registering for a test date.  Thankfully, Learning Ascent has your back! We offer ACT and SAT prep all year long.

Step 5: The Application

Some universities use the Common Application, and others do not.  If the university a student wishes to apply to uses the common app, simply find the school there and you’re on your way!  If that school does not use the common app there are two options. First, call admissions and ask.  They can tell you more specific details about the application as well as about specific majors you’re interested in.  The student’s second option is to go to the university homepage and search for the “APPLY” button and begin the application there.

Step 6: The Personal Statement (Essay)

Some schools will require a personal statement or an essay of sorts in order for your application to be complete, while other schools do not.  Students applying to schools requiring as essay should answer the prompt to their fullest ability and, most importantly, write what you know.  Don’t try to impress the admissions board by writing too much or writing about a topic you aren’t comfortable with.  Keep it clear and concise and you will be just fine

Step 7: Submit It

This step is the easiest to accomplish, however, it may be the most nerve-wracking.  Once a student submits their application, there is no going back.  Take a deep breath and trust that you did the best that you could!

Step 8: Narrow It Down

After receiving acceptances from multiple schools, students will most likely be overwhelmed.  Take this time to look back and reflect on why you applied to that school in the first place.  What stood out to you for you to want to apply here versus somewhere else? As silly as it may seem, a pro-con list for all your possible schools may help narrow down choices.

Step 9:  Accept Your Admission

Many universities may have you accept your admission/enrollment to the college. This is a very easy step and can be done through the universities’ online portal.  Simply log in and follow the admissions tabs.  If you get stuck or don’t know how to do it, call admissions!  They’d be more than happy to help.

Final Step: Orientation-Welcome to your Dream School!

You made it!  After all your hard work and months of stress, you’re at Orientation.  Orientation is when schools will have you come to campus for the day (or even overnight) and participate in many different activities.  These include: picking your room, choosing your classes, obtaining your student ID, and so much more! Orientation is the reward for all the hard work you’ve been doing.  It is a fun and exciting way to meet and make friends with some of your classmates as well as help you plan out the next four years at your dream school!

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