For anyone, the process of applying to colleges and universities can be a very intimidating task. Introducing yourself as a student and person to an upper school can be a daunting experience because typically thousands of other hopeful people just like you are doing the exact same thing. In order to make yourself stand out, it’s important to know your place, and become familiar with what you are competing with. It’s common knowledge that being familiar with the school’s average GPA, average standardized test scores, and application format are crucial and key elements to know what you are up against. If you’ve worked hard in high school and think you have a chance at one of the nation’s elite schools, you should go for it. But how should you measure up your scores and averages, and how can you make the college application process easier for yourself?
For starters, standardized test scores are some of the most important elements of any college application. They reflect how you interpret and analyze certain test questions and your test-taking ability in general. Colleges use these scores to learn how skilled of a test-taker you are, but they don’t necessarily reflect your efforts in school or your extracurriculars during high school. In order to have a well-rounded application, one must demonstrate their efforts in school through a high GPA, their outwardness through diverse and consistent extracurriculars, and aptitude for test-taking through high standardized test scores. Additionally, depending on the school you are applying to, good letters of recommendation are always a bonus. If adult mentors in your life see you as a hard worker, bright student, and professional/mature person, their words about you mean a lot to colleges.
According to Emma King, who is a senior at Bishop Manogue, “I started researching schools near around spring break of my junior year, and really visiting schools and considering where I wanted to go towards the end of my junior year and the summer between my junior and senior years.” Many seniors agree that getting an early start on your research and application process is a good idea because being ahead of schedule will provide you peace of mind later down the road in terms of application dates and deadlines. “In terms of actually conducting research on schools, I would recommend considering the average GPAs and scores the school has so you know what you’re up against. If you think you place well among these scores, and the school itself is one you are genuinely interested in, you should absolutely go for it,” says King.
Applying to college is without a doubt a stressful and almost exhausting process, but with ample knowledge of the school you are thinking about, and knowledge of the actual application process/deadlines involved, you will be college-ready within no time.