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Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Basics to know about college?

I'm a junior starting to research colleges and the whole application process. What are some of the basic things I should know to get started on my college journey? Any advice is appreciated!

7 months ago

Hello! It's great that you're starting to plan for your college journey. Here are some essential points to consider when navigating the college application process:

1. Research colleges early: Start researching colleges that align with your interests, needs, and goals. Consider factors like location, size, academic programs, extracurricular opportunities, and financial aid offerings. Visit campuses, if possible, to get a firsthand feel for what your life there would be like.

2. Develop a college list: Create a list of schools you're interested in, including a mix of safety, match, and reach schools. Safety schools are those where your credentials (GPA, test scores, extracurricular profile) exceed the average for admitted students, match schools align with your credentials, and reach schools are either highly selective and/or typically look for students who have better achievements than you in certain areas.

3. Academic performance: Colleges place a huge amount of value on your grades, course rigor, and class rank. Aim for good grades, ideally in challenging courses (like AP or honors classes), and strive to improve if necessary. You can find some tips for how to improve your GPA on CollegeVine's blog: https://blog.collegevine.com/improve-your-high-school-gpa-with-these-5-strategies.

4. Test scores: Although some colleges have gone test-optional, many still require standardized test scores (like the SAT or ACT) for admissions, and even if a school is test-optional, a strong test score is never a bad thing to have. Start preparing early and consider taking practice tests or engaging in test prep programs. Scheduling a test date in the spring or early summer before your senior year is recommended.

5. Extracurricular activities: Colleges look for well-rounded applicants who have pursued their passions and demonstrated leadership throughout high school. Consider engaging in 8-10 extracurriculars across various fields, but prioritize quality involvement over quantity.

6. College essays: Your personal statement and supplemental essays are crucial components of your application, as they allow you to showcase your personality, values, and experiences. Start brainstorming early, avoiding cliché topics, and write a compelling story unique to you. Remember that CollegeVine offers both free peer essay reviews and paid reviews by expert college admissions advisors, once you have a working draft.

7. Letters of recommendation: Most colleges require letters of recommendation from teachers and/or counselors. Cultivate good relationships with these individuals early on, and give them ample time to write thoughtful letters on your behalf.

8. Financial aid and scholarships: Begin researching scholarships and financial aid opportunities early. Submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as it becomes available. And merit-based scholarships often have early deadlines, so make sure you're aware of all the possibilities and what you need to do to take advantage of them!

9. Application deadlines: Keep track of each college's specific deadlines for admission, financial aid, and scholarships. Consider applying Early Decision (ED) or Early Action (EA) if you have a top-choice school, as these options can increase your chances of acceptance.

10. Stay organized: Keep a calendar or spreadsheet with all important application dates, requirements, and necessary materials. Regularly update and check this resource to ensure you're meeting deadlines and staying on track.

Remember that the entire college application process takes time, effort, and commitment. Begin your research early, stay organized, and seek advice from others when needed. And try to find the fun in it too—after all, you're deciding where to spend the next four years of your life! Good luck on your journey!

7 months ago

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