How to Get into College
By Ken K on December 20, 2021
You’re in high school, but all everyone seems to be talking about is college. Your friends and classmates are thinking (maybe even panicking) about how to get into college.
College admissions can seem daunting not only because it feels like your entire future is riding on your college acceptance (hint: it’s not), but also because you’re not exactly what these power-wielding college admissions officers are looking for.
First of all, take a deep breath! We’re here to assure you that getting into college does not define who you are or your self-worth. Too often students can become extremely stressed out during this process, so remember to take a step back and reach out for help if you are feeling overwhelmed.
We’re also here to provide you some insights and information about the application process in an effort to better prepare you and create as much transparency as possible about how to get into college.
What do colleges look for?
Admissions officers review many factors in a student’s application, but in general, they are looking to see that you have made the most out of your entire high school education.
Plan out what classes and extracurriculars you’d like to take as early as possible to have a reliable trajectory to follow throughout your high school career. Not only will this allow you to utilize your four years in high school intelligently, but this will also mitigate the chances of unpreparedness and procrastination when it's actually time for college applications. There is nothing more stressful than realizing you have multiple unfulfilled requirements during your junior year of high school.
As you are selecting your high school classes, keep in mind that admissions officers like to see that you’ve challenged yourself. That means taking honors or college prep classes, like Advanced Placement (AP.) Again, colleges favor students who have pushed themselves out of their comfort zone, so you can demonstrate that by taking higher-level courses in subjects that you excel in.
What GPA do I need to get into college?
Grades play a significant role in the college admissions process. With that being said, there is no black-or-white answer when it comes to your GPA and college applications.
There is no specific GPA you need to get into college, and what GPA you need to stand out in the application process will vary from college to college. In general, to get into any four-year college, you should at least have a 2.0 GPA or higher. If you’re aiming to get into a more selective college (less than a 60% acceptance rate), then you should be aiming for at least a 3.5 GPA.
However, the aforementioned GPAs are just estimates, and it will not apply to every student or every college. Admissions officers often will not just look at the number, but they will consider other contextual factors.
For example, the way GPA is calculated varies from high school to high school, which means that a 4.0 at your high school may be viewed differently from a 4.0 at another high school. Moreover, the difficulty of your high school courses will impact the way an admissions officer views your GPA. If your GPA is lower than another student’s because you took more AP classes, then that will play a huge factor in how a college will regard your GPA.
Another thing to keep in mind is that your GPA is not the only factor colleges look at. While it is a significant factor, admissions offices will also weigh your application essays, extracurriculars, and letters of recommendation.
How can I increase my chances of getting into college?
GPA aside, there are many ways to beef up your college application in order to make an impact on an admissions officer.
- Score high on the ACT/SAT
- Write compelling essays and a personal statement
- Demonstrate genuine interest in the college you are applying to
- Secure strong letters of recommendation
- Apply to multiple colleges
- Utilize early admissions/early action to your top college
- Manage your social media responsibly
- Ask for help!
Should I consider tutoring to help me get into college?
Yes! Tutoring is an excellent way to support your college application process. If you are struggling in a class or your standardized testing, tutoring is a great way to level up your skills and gain confidence in any subject. Schoolhouse offers help in multiple high school math courses, SAT Prep, and AP Review.
You can also use tutoring as a way to bolster your extracurriculars by being a tutor. Here at Schoolhouse, you can become a volunteer tutor and earn service hours. You'll receive a college-applications-ready digital portfolio to showcase your qualifications and tutoring experience.