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College Admission - How to Get into College
First, and probably the step that most people forget to look at is to examine why you would like to go into college. What would you like to get out of it when you graduate? What occupation or occupations would you like to be able to pursue having completed your college education. Many people go into college without the faintest clue about any of why they're going into college. They just go because everyone else is. There's also nothing wrong with changing your mind about what type of career you would like to pursue after graduating from college, but you should at least have a faint idea of the direction in which you would like to go. Therefore, you may also want to investigate or job shadow someone in the field or occupation in which you would like to work and see what it's like. Ask them about the type of education that they needed to get that job. That'll also give you an idea about the type of program you would like to pursue.
Second: Read through the admissions requirements for the particular faculty or discipline that you wish to enter. Every department, faculty, or college has its unique set of entrance requirements. For some, you need to have taken so many science courses in high school. For others, you may need to have taken certain arts courses, or you may be behind already. Still others may emphasize their admission essay in weeding out applicants.
Basically, try to find out everything about the program and the school for whichever schools you wish to apply. Just don't apply to too many because it does drain your energies and time. If you have prepared well in high school, there should be no need to apply to too many. If you haven't prepared well, then even applying to many school probably would not help either. If you haven't prepared well in high school, you can try to make an appointment with someone from the college student recruitment center, and they may be able to give you pointers on how you can get in - perhaps by going to another college and transferring, or some other helpful pointers that you would not have known yourself.
Third: Probably the most important factor in a college's decision to choosing students for admission is high school marks. If you are still in high school right now, you can still save them. Many colleges probably do not consider final grades from the final year, which is a bit unfortunate. However, many do, and you can therefore still save yourself if you are in your final year. If you are in your earlier years, that's even better because you can devote the energies to getting good marks. Check out the Useful Books section on books on that will help improve your study skills and habits. It definitely would not hurt to purchase a few of these for reference, as you'll probably need to look back at them throughout high school and college.
Fourth: Take the SAT at the appropriate time. Do not take it too early, as you will be wasting timing learning the material yourself instead of learning it during your lectures. Also, do not take it too late, or you will have forgotten much of what you have learned during previous years. Taking it too late also has the disadvantage of not meeting school deadlines, which in some cases are much earlier than you think. Also, do not take it too much earlier just because you are afraid that you may not do well the first time, and may need to repeat it. It is just wasting your time. Prepare for it before taking it, and do well on it. For most schools, standardized tests are less important than school grades, but still, you probably want to do reasonably well.
Fifth: Apply for scholarships, loans, and also save your own money in order to help your tuition costs. Talk to financial aid representatives from the schools that you wish to apply to. And don't be afraid to spend some time filling out a few scholarship applications, because you may end up getting one. If cost is an important factor to you, you may want to go to a cheaper school. Your education may or may not be impacted. Some people who go to ordinary schools end up doing very well in life anyways, so don't feel that you always have to go to that most expensive school.
In conclusion: College is for many people one of the best times of their lives. Hope you enjoy your application process and maybe see you back at this site if you decide to apply to graduate or professional school!
Other topics that should be of interest to you:
How to Write Admission Essays and Personal Statements
How to Get Good Reference Letters and Letters of Recommendation
How to Do Well on Admission Interviews