An Application Strategy For Competitive Colleges

Harvard Campus - one of the most competitive colleges

Flickr user Manuel Menal

Applying for colleges can be a busy time for your junior and senior years of high school. And, if you’re applying to most competitive colleges, you may be worried about your acceptance odds. Luckily, there are ways to approach your applications to improve your chances of admission and lower the stress during your final years of high school. Here are three strategies you should implement.

When it Comes to Competitive and Smartest Colleges: Start Early

The best thing you can do for your application strategy for competitive colleges is to start early. This will give you ample time to get everything you need together and avoid a last minute submission. You most likely will have to gather recommendations, write an essay, complete your application, and more. Don’t wait until last minute. You could run into issues with your computer, the application itself, the internet, or the school’s website, and completely ruin your chance of admission by missing the due date.

Starting early also gives you a time to properly vet colleges. You can review each one carefully and decide which actually fit you. You may even be so certain about a school that you want to apply for early decision. Many colleges have due dates for early decision in November or December so you absolutely need to start soon, but remember it is binding.

Apply To Ones That Are Actually For You

While it could be exciting to get into Harvard, Yale, or another top school, make sure you’re keeping your needs, wants, and interests in mind. If Harvard or Yale is where you want to attend, great! However, if they’re not, you may want to avoid applying there. You’ll be wasting time you could be devoting to other colleges that actually fit you. Less time spent on your more serious applications could even hurt your admission chances.

This is why starting early is so important. Research each college before applying and make sure to read over the application requirements. You don’t want to miss an important step!

Perform Optional Tasks

Some colleges now have optional portions of applications, even the competitive schools. When it comes to the SAT or ACT, for example, some may only recommend it or say it’s completely optional. Others may say the essay is an optional portion for your admission chances. Other colleges suggest you complete an interview either in person or over the phone, but it’s not always required.

Always perform these optional tasks if you can. While you don’t need the SAT or ACT score to apply, it could be the deciding factor if you’re tied with another student for admission. Writing the essay shows you’re willing to go the extra mile. And the interview can absolutely show you’re truly interested in the college.

It’s always a good idea to go into the college application process with a strategy in mind, especially when it comes to the more competitive colleges. Starting early, researching colleges carefully, and completing even optional portions of the application could boost your chances of admission to your dream school!

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