High Schoolers, Here Are 5 Things You Should Not Do for College Applications

High Schoolers, Here Are 5 Things You Should Not Do for College Applications

Student Life

February 18, 2021

Every year, millions of dollars are spent on high schoolers in order to boost their college applications. Anything from sports equipment and music lessons, to simply hiring a college counselor - people are putting a greater emphasis on their applications in order to get into top 20 colleges.

However, given the numerous amounts of information scattered across the internet, there are some misconceptions that may confuse incoming and current high schoolers.

If you're wondering about whether on not you're doing something right as a high schooler, you've come to the right place. I'll be going over five things you shouldn't do as a high schooler for college admissions.

#1 Signing up for every club at the club fair

While the idea of doing everything as a high schooler sounds great on paper, it won't help you for college applications. Signing up for over twenty clubs will leave you tired, unmotivated, and unable to dedicate time to something you truly care about.

If you're simply joining because you think it'll look nice for college admissions, you'll be spending your time on things you might not like which will lead to low commitment and unhappiness. What colleges want is for you to find something that fills you with passion and for you to stick with it.

Doing so will not only make you a happier person, but also impress the people who read your application!

#2 Ignoring your GPA

While your GPA will not guarantee you a spot into a certain college, it's vital that you maintain it. If you're failing your classes and getting D's and C's, then you need to take a step back to think about why this is happening. If you're failing a class, ask your teacher for help.

Go in after class to get the help you need. Because at the end of the day, if your GPA is too low, colleges will be less inclined to accept you unless you're the next Michael Jordan.

#3 Don't treat the ACT/SAT as a joke

For those of you who don't know what the ACT and SAT are, they're standardized tests that most high schoolers take in order to show they are college ready. You can take them as many times you want. However, many high schoolers use that information as an excuse to not study for them.

After all, if you're able to retake them as many times you want, why put yourself under the stress of cramming when you could just retest if you fail? While that may make sense, it's important to realize that if you put in the effort to study and obtain a score that you like, you can be free of having to worry about having to test again.

In other words, don't wait until the last moment to actually try for the tests. Even if colleges are turning test-optional for the 2021-2022 cycle, being able to provide a great score on one of these tests will definitely aid you in the college process.

#4 Joining a Sport

Everyone I know is a part of a sport. Even some of my friends who hate sports and would rather read a book have joined sports like cheerleading and cross country all for the sake of being able to write that they do sports on their college application.

If you honestly love the sport you're doing, don't quit! But if you're constantly miserable after hours of practice, you should quit and do something you would enjoy.

The hundreds of hours you would spend on a sport could be put into something you love which would help you dive deeper into that area and stand out more rather than be one of the millions of other high schoolers who are a part of the JV team at their school.

College admissions don't want to see high schoolers forcing themselves to do activities they hate. Because if you hate something, chances are that you will not be able to do that activity with your best ability.

#5 Don't ignore exploring/growing yourself as an individual

High school isn't like middle school where you have no control over anything. Instead, it's a time for a fun. There are many celebrations like Homecoming and the Winter Ball.

However, some students may think they should spend the time to study rather than go to a party or hang out with friends. Yet while that may be beneficial for the academic side of college applications, know that colleges also want you to have a personality!

If you don't take the time in high school to experience different things besides studying, you won't be able to write essays that show off different sides of yourself. You may not have anything to write about for what you like to do for fun, making you unable to stand out in the sea of outstanding students.

So, if you're free on the week that there's a party or your friends want to hang out, don't stay at home! Remember that you only can go through high school once, so if your schedule isn't too busy, go have fun. And while you're at it, try exploring different aspects of yourself!

Between prepping for various AP tests to balancing a hobby you've had since elementary school, millions of high schoolers will wait nervously every year for college decisions. While no one truly knows what colleges are looking for in a certain year, there are some things that we know for sure.

Through reading this article, I hope you were able to learn a few things about college applications. While your parents and teachers may emphasize various things related to college, remember that the most important thing that colleges want from a high schooler is for you to just be you.

Don't force yourself to take on things you hate. Instead, choose to be a part of something you love. Only then can you stand out as an individual while also be able to enjoy the high school experience.

Annie Pan
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Writer since Oct, 2020 · 4 published articles

Annie Pan is a junior in Ladue Horton Watkins High School. Her hobbies include playing piano, writing, and reading realistic fiction. Her favorite snack is cotton candy grapes.