Ready to take on college? Whether or not you’re at the point of filling out applications, it’s never too early to start building the habits that will help you gain admission into the colleges of your choice. Based on recent statistics, it’s getting harder to get accepted into college — especially top-tier institutions.
Although the average college acceptance rate is about 65 percent, some colleges have admission rates as low as 5.1 percent of all applicants, as is the case for Stanford University, or about 6 percent for Harvard University and Yale University.
Improve your chances
From the moment you enroll in your online high school, there is much you can do to improve chances of getting accepted into your preferred colleges.
Here are 7 tips to help you gain a competitive advantage as an online student:
1. Develop a plan. While it may seem like you’re way too young to finalize your goals in life, it never hurts to start exploring a few of your interests. Now is a good time to list three of your possible career goals and map out what it would take to pursue them. Start researching requirements and job prospects. Will you need to earn a master’s degree in addition to a bachelor’s degree? Are the job prospects healthy? What are the day-to-day responsibilities required of the job? Growth opportunities? The earlier you can envision what it takes to pursue your career, the more motivated you will be to work toward your goal.
2. Identify your courses. Talk to your high school counselor about your career prospects. Determine which courses would help you best prepare for your career goals. Whether or not you’ve decided to go to college or an Ivy League school, for that matter, make sure you’re taking courses that prepare you for your areas of interest.
3. Take challenging courses. Studies show that colleges examine whether students take rigorous college preparatory courses as part of the admissions process. Focus on courses like algebra II, calculus, foreign languages, science, history, chemistry and other challenging courses to fulfill the basic requirements of most colleges.
4. Undergo tutoring. Challenging courses are considered challenging for a reason. They push you to study and work hard. Don’t hesitate to get tutoring. Ask your online teachers for assistance as well as inquire about other tutoring options available to you through your online school.
5. Work on great habits. Get serious from the start about your learning and study habits. Avoid the temptation to skip a class or hold back on commenting during online class discussions. Set aside space in your home to help you complete homework or study. If necessary, head to your local coffee shop or library to avoid the distractions at home. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries with your friends and relatives about your study time.
6. Find internships. Online school allows you to have a bit more flexibility. Talk to different companies in your area to find out if you can shadow an employee who has a career path similar to the one you’re interested in. Or, better yet, ask about internship possibilities. Many companies are more than willing to at least offer shadow opportunities. Work around your school schedule to accommodate these opportunities.
7. Prep for the SAT/ACT. Start with the PSAT to help you prep for other college testing, such as the SAT and ACT. Students who have taken the test suggest reviewing testing strategies and gaining a deeper understanding of math concepts can help you excel with the ACT and SAT, which are widely accepted requirements to gaining college admission.
Getting into the college of your choice is attainable. Starting as early with your planning can help you gain the competitive advantage you need to enter the next phase of your exciting educational career.