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Top Tips for the College Process

Top Tip #1

The more you lead this process, the more you will get out of it. Part of applying to college is getting in; but a huge part is figuring out who you are and what you want out of your next step. Your parents and your counselor will be there for advice. But when you decide you want to commit to this process, you will find that your college list, your applications and your final decision are all about you.

Top Tip #2

Challenge yourself at Baldwin. Don’t take the easy route. Success comes from hard work. Colleges weigh your high school transcript the most in the admissions process. They are considering all four years of high school. If you can handle taking rigorous courses and they match up well with what you are interested in, go for it. You will be better prepared for both the application process and your first year of college.

Top Tip #3

Let it inspire you to achieve goals you never thought you could. Many students spend so much time worrying about one thing they view as an impediment to getting into college. Instead of focusing on it, make it push you to succeed the next time around. You don’t have to be perfect to get into college. No one is, including the admissions officer reading your application. It is how you respond to challenge that impresses an admissions officer much more than anything else.

Top Tip #4

There is usually no testing cut-offs for colleges, which means they will review every application they receive. Having scores that match up or exceed their averages can definitely keep you competitive in the applicant pool. However, if you think your scores don’t accurately represent what you’re capable of, look at colleges that value more in the process. There are dozens of colleges and universities that have “test-flexible” and “test-optional” admissions policies. 

Top Tip #5

Those virtual tours aren’t the same as stepping foot on a campus and knowing in an instant if the college is right for you. If you want to be sure a college is a good match, you need to make a trip. Nothing can replace a campus visit. 

Top Tip #6

Most colleges factor in how much interest you have shown them throughout the process when making a decision about your application. Attend events, visit campus, and get specific (in your application/interview) about why you are interested in a particular college.

Top Tip #7

You need “reach,” “possible,” and “likely” colleges on your list. Every college on your final list should be a school you would absolutely attend.

Top Tip #8

It takes many, many, many drafts before your essay is ready for submission. Most of the time, the admissions officer reading your application has never met you. They will rely on the essay to hear, in your own words, what you’re all about. There are good essays, and there are extraordinary essays. The extraordinary essays can literally change your admissions decision in an instant.

Top Tip #9

Build relationships with teachers and your college counselor. The faculty and your counselor write the all-important letters of recommendation. The better we know you, the more personalized our letters become. 

Top Tip #10

There are highs and lows just like any challenging endeavor. But if you do it right, you will discover what makes you the individual you are and what you want out of the next stage of your life.

Top Tip #11

In the college admissions process, make sure to send a quick email or handwritten note to the admissions officer you spoke with at a college event or the alumni interviewer who interviewed you. You are Baldwin girls — let them not forget that or you. Thank them for answering your questions or meeting with you. Share something that will leave them with an incredibly positive impression of you. Keep it short, sweet, and genuine. Make this a habit. It will come in handy for getting competitive internships, jobs, and promotions. Hard work comes first, but part of putting your best foot forward is reaching out to the person who took the time to meet with you.

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