The college application process can seem daunting in some way for everyone; Most of us don't have a flawless application with perfect scores and grades. We get terrified; We start to think we won't get into the college of our top choice or any college at all.
In reality, there's no need to worry much. Most colleges are much more tolerant and understanding than you might think. You can still be hopeful that you will make your parents proud and satisfy your teenage ego. Here's why this is true:
1. Your Test Scores and Grades Aren't Everything
I made the mistake of spending way too much time studying at school and preparing for the SAT exams. This meaningless dedication made me turn down many opportunities simply because I ended up having no free time.
Although I got a high SAT score and generally high grades at school, I had nothing exceptional that would make me stand out from other people who also had high SAT scores and grades.
Whatever your parents and teachers might tell you, test scores and grades are becoming increasingly less important for admissions in college. Even the top colleges like Harvard, MIT, and Stanford are starting to give more value to other qualifications; Not all of us are amazing at math solving and reading comprehension.
That's why colleges started giving more value to extracurricular activities. Extracurricular activities will help show your proficiency in various fields other than academics. Harvard, which some may think is a place for only brainy maths experts, looks extremely approvingly upon athletic sports success.
Most colleges want you to show your passion, leadership, and impact while doing extracurricular activities.
2. There's a College for Everyone
You read that right! Not all universities have strict desires. After all, you're a human being! You have weak points and strong points, whether you like it or not. College Board can help find the best colleges for you based on your abilities and qualifications. They recently launched a new college search website. If you would like to ensure you get the best quality of results, you can also use CollegeVine.
I used to go through college websites and check their average SAT and GPA scores, which was a tedious process. Fortunately, my classmate told me about CollegeVine, which helped me save my time and energy while also giving me more accurate information than the former process on where to apply.
These websites will take all your information (test scores, grades, what you want to major in, etc.), calculate chances, and show you a list of the perfect colleges for you to send your applications to.
3. It's Highly Unlikely That You Will Not Get Into a College
Parents and teachers may tell us that if we don't study enough in subjects we have no fondness of and talent for, we ruin the chances of ever attending college. However, this is not true.
College admissions are not as competitive as you might think. Only the top 100 schools can be highly selective; 80% of the colleges accept 50% or more of the applicants; Out of that 80% of the colleges, open-admission colleges accept all or most high school grads.
4. Extracurriculars Can Be Activities Done Outside School
Most students only include activities, such as school club participation, playing in the sports team, or playing in some band. They think extracurricular activities can only be activities done at school. However, this is a terrible way of thinking when filling out the list of activities.
Although publishing articles online as a hobby has had no association with my school, I included it in my application because I was passionate about it. Pretty much anything done outside the school curriculum apart from eating, breathing, and sleeping can count as an extracurricular activity.
You may think playing video games is nothing but a waste of time. However, you should know that you can use your video game proficiency to do an effective extracurricular activity. For instance, try creating a gaming club at your school, write a game review blog, or build a game of your own. Whether you believe it or not, these activities can play a significant role in your college admissions.
You're not a gamer, but you have a popular Instagram account? If you're doing something meaningful or quirky and you have thousands of loyal followers, make sure to include that as an extracurricular activity.
5. A Good Letter of Recommendation Doesn't Depend on a High Grade in the Subject
Just because the teacher gave you a high grade doesn't mean that the teacher knows you as a person.
I wince every time I remember making the mistake of asking my English teacher for a letter of recommendation. Even though I had perfect grades, I didn't participate in her class. I didn't try to connect with her and give her a profound view of myself. I ended up being a stereotypical kid who knows his English well. That view was too shallow for me to get a good letter of recommendation.
On the other hand, while my math grades weren't all that great, the math teacher knew all about my story, struggles, weaknesses, and strengths, so she wrote me a meaningful letter of recommendation.
Colleges usually ask for letters of recommendation to see a different side of you, the one that is more objective and not shown on your essay, test scores, grades, and extracurricular activities.
The teachers who know you well and can give rich context to your passion, work ethic, growth, and persistence are the ones that you should be asking for letters of recommendation.
You Got This
Now you understand why you don't have to fear the application process. There's a unique opportunity for everyone; Look for these opportunities with confidence and purpose in mind.
You don't have to be academically successful, so don't get discouraged if you have low test scores and grades. Keep studying and working diligently on your passions. Success will come, one way or another.