Ways an average girl can get into a good university?
I am a freshman. My parents are both unfamiliar with the school system here, and I am the only child (I don't have any siblings/cousins to ask). I don't know what I want to become yet. Some of my extracurriculars include: a (HUGE) passion in photography...room decor and calligraphy, 8 years of dance (still continuing), 7 years of singing (still continuing), volleyball, a volunteer at an international language-teaching school for children (which I graduated from myself). So far, I have a 4.0 GPA but that doesn't say much due to the fact it's only been one semester of high school. I am an overall good student, and care a lot about societal values like preserving languages, loss of culture..etc. I am a good leader but haven't done leadership activities. I am not in robotics, speech and debate, any business clubs...and as you can see, there is really nothing special and extraordinary going on about me. What can I do to get better, and add some emotional depth to myself and character?
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Great question! It all really depends on the field/career path you're going to be going in; if you want to go on a science route, you definitely need work on stuff, but I would recommend an art path, since you're doing well in that. To get into a good university, try and take your interest in photography, room decor, and calligraphy, and enter competitions. Winning high level competitions will help you get higher tiers for the activities you're doing, which appeals to colleges. Try and get on varsity for volleyball, and hopefully captain, and for dance, enter competitions and win, maybe create a YouTube channel or blog with lots of followers and content, and try to get real world recognition. For singing, definitely enter for selective honor choirs, from your school, then at your region, and then state, and if you can, national. Also, try and publish a song on Spotify, and get people to listen to it. And as for your volunteering, make sure you have lots of hours, and try creating events or drives there, focused either on raising money, or getting participants. Basically, take these extracurriculars and do the max and best you can, and do lots of competitions. To me, if you're focusing on getting into something more selective, robotics, speech, debate, etc. usually set you ahead, however if you're planning on working on the best possible person and following your dreams, instead of just going to Ivy League, you're on the right path. Make sure you're passionate about what you're doing, and try aiming for something you might not have even thought about before. You are extraordinary in your own way; while extracurriculars set you ahead, the person you are will always appeal to colleges. You can go to a great college, while still doing something you love. It's hard to put in words, but just make sure you're trying to be the best person you are. If you want to reflect on who you are, always compare 2 things; what makes you happy, and what makes you curious. While deciding your future can be hard, you have a lot of time, you're just a freshman! Make sure you do the things you love, but also strive to be better; maybe you're good at debate! OOF, I'm bad at answering questions; to sum it up, colleges are looking for someone who's unique and has potential. Do the best you can for what you're doing, and once you know what you want to do, make sure you focus on that, but also try and show a broad reach; if you can't be in a selective club, try being in interest clubs for science and mathematics, so you're as well rounded as possible. And a note for the future; try and keep you're GPA above 3.5 and you're SAT over 1500, just a rule of thumb I thought to share.
And to address the last part of your question, from your description, I think that you are unique, even if you're not extraordinary. Many people are just focused on being the best, but you seem like a person who goes and does things that they enjoy. Even if you feel you aren't a person a college is looking for, and you don't have the things other people have, always remember that you have something of yours, just work as hard as you can. And if you're looking for emotional depth of who you are, I'll tell you how you look on paper; a person who's great, but unsure. So don't be! Not to be weird, but you're awesome in you're own way, and if you keep working hard, you have a great chance to go to a great college; just be yourself, even if you don't know who that is, and make sure that you're different from others (ex. having a passion in photography, instead of pursuing it to show artistic ability).
I hope this helps out! Good luck!
Keep up the good work with good grades. To whichever universities you end up applying to, go to each university's website and look at their admission statistics on students they've accepted. Each year it changes a little, so you'll want to look every year or at least the year before you graduate. But it'll show you an idea of the things you'll need to do or work on for the next 4 years to get accepted. Create a goal plan for each year. If you want to take AP classes, great. (See if any of the schools you want to apply to are competitive, if most of their students have taken AP classes) You're in your freshman year so you have all the control right now to take AP classes in your upcoming years. Just find out the requirements at your HS to be able to take AP classes.
Also remember, colleges are businesses that students (and their parents) pay for. If the college is not highly competitive (like an Ivy League school for example) don't worry so much if you'll get accepted into a college if you're not perfect, because colleges want money. And in most businesses, money is the thing that keeps them going, bottom line. A lot of colleges don't even have all their spots full by the end of the application deadlines, so some of them have rolling admissions, where they keep accepting students past the main application deadline until all the spots are filled.
Also, have good relationships with your teachers. Talk to them after classes if you have any questions on a subject. They'll be able to provide you with good letters of recommendation when applying for colleges.