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How to Be a Competitive College Applicant

Do you think you have what is takes to be a competitive college applicant at a program that has a low acceptance rate? Let's see!

Meaghan Rysdale visits Georgetown University in Washington DC to get a glimpse of a highly competitive program
Georgetown University, Washington DC, June 2023

Often times students think they simply need to go to school, get "good" grades, volunteer, be involved in clubs or sports, and then they should land at a "good school." While at one time this was the case, many students have caught on to this formula, and as a result many schools see many of the same kinds of applicants.

Here are some tips that can help you stand out in the college admissions world:

  1. Don't just volunteer to put it on your applications - be meaningful and make a positive impact on your community!

  2. Sign up for college fairs as early as Freshman year of high school! And, make it a goal to walk up and talk to counselors to hear more about the programs they offer.

  3. Keep your guidance counselors in the loop with your future goals so they know what courses you need to enroll in in order to apply for future degree programs.

  4. Don't rely solely on your guidance counselor to make sure you are getting all the information you need. Consider hiring an outside source to make sure you can stay on track!

  5. Sign up for SAT / ACT Prep as early as Freshman year of high school! Remember, when it comes to the SAT or ACT, practice makes perfect!

  6. Make your summers meaningful by filling it with things that can help you to explore your future - whether it be planning a few college tours or catching up on some volunteer work, you know what you need to do!

  7. Begin researching program requirements to ensure you stay on track!

  8. Ask for help if you don't understand the material in your courses, especially if it's math!

  9. Find a place to organize and keep track of all your things for college applications, especially any awards or certificates you are awarded for good deeds and high achievements!

  10. Travel outside of the area you are use to - and try to visit programs while you are doing so! Traveling helps to enhance your personal understanding of cultures and experiences which will help you to develop skills and knowledge that could propel you towards your future!

If you feel like you are overwhelmed by the process of college planning, consider reaching out to Hoosier Academic Coaching at to see how we can help!


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