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How to Select a College This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Second semester of junior year can be a scary time. The college application process is approaching and your fears are becoming more realistic. You start thinking about getting into college next year, and what will happen if you don’t. Do you have enough extra-curricular activities? Will your test scores be high enough?

You may not get into every college you apply to, which is why it’s important to have safety schools that are practically guaranteed to accept you. It is also important to have “reach schools” that are more difficult to get into but offer a more intense education. Set your goals high! Then there’s the dream school - the one you would do almost anything to get into.

Here are my tips on selecting a college:

1. Do you have any idea where you want to go? Juniors should make a top 10 list that includes three safety, three reach, and four dream schools.

2. Find out the entrance requirements of these ten schools. Sites like PrincetonReview.com and CollegeBoard.com are very helpful in finding out what ACT or SAT score may be required to be accepted, as well as what sets a college apart from the others, and if it offers extra-curricular activities in which you are interested.

3. Apply and visit. After you have thoroughly researched your top 10 schools, narrow the list to five. These are the colleges to which you will most likely apply. Check deadlines, but applications should usually be sent by November. After you have applied, go a step further and visit each school if you haven’t already. If you are unable to visit, email the admissions office with any questions.

4. Choose wisely. Your acceptance and (sadly) rejection letters will come in April. Now, this may sound elementary, but it is necessary to list the pros and cons of all the schools where you are accepted. Examine every fact you know about the college. Whichever school has the highest pro to con ratio should be your pick.

5. Have fun in college! You likely made the right choice, but college life may be difficult so always remember to study hard, get plenty of sleep, and fasten your seatbelt - it may be quite a bumpy ride.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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