Getting In

By Anthony F. Capraro, COO, College Outreach USA


he college admission process – getting in – begins the minute you start making your first choices in course selection and in extracurricular activities in middle school and high school. These initial and ongoing decisions are crucial to your future well-being. They lay the groundwork for the curriculum you will follow throughout your high school career; they are not easily reversed. These are the decisions that will allow you to present yourself well to the colleges of your choice.

Students and parents must make time to ensure an early, active role in the college admissions process. Each year, starting in the seventh grade, students and parents should take the time to sit down with the student’s guidance counselor and talk meaningfully about the following:

  • selection and level of courses, projecting through the senior year of high school;

  • extracurricular activities available, such as drama, music, athletics, academic clubs, community activities, student government, and other special interest groups, summer study, work, or recreation.

Why is this important to getting in? As sure as taxes and death, there is going to come a time in your senior year when you, the college-bound student, will be asked to choose colleges, complete the college application, write your college essay(s), and have an interview – either on the college campus, or in your hometown – although fewer and fewer colleges are interviewing students.

By the time you reach that long-awaited dream of being a senior, you and you alone have created the person you must present to the colleges of your choice. You must understand that the person you have created is the only person you have to present, so keep that in the back of your mind. You are the composite of certain quality ingredients, like the classes you’ve taken, the grades you’ve earned, and the extra effort you’ve made outside the classroom. Beyond that, you are the embodiment of your own unique set of talents, values, ideas, goals and personality – all of which deserve to be recognized! The evidence of who you truly are appears in the things you’ve truly accomplished.