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All aspects of life have been impacted by the pandemic and college admissions is no exception. While the rate of application is increasing, acceptance rates have been decreasing. According to a report by CNBC, the number of applications Harvard received for the 2020 school year was 57% higher than the previous year but their acceptance shrunk from 13.9% to 7.4%. Other elite schools had similar figures. Yale's applications went up 38%, but their acceptance rate fell 3% while Dartmouth College had a 29% increase in applications but had a 5% decrease in their acceptance rate. Data from IvyWise shows that acceptance rates have fallen consistently over the years for most institutions. These statistics demonstrate that competition has increased and students need to be sure that they "stand out" to improve their chance to be selected.
What can students do to be in position to be accepted? Obviously the first thing to do is to take their course load seriously. When they choose their courses they should think about their work as a stepping stone to the future. They should invest their time and energy in courses which demonstrate that they are thinkers and learners. They should show that they are not afraid of rigor and are up for the challenge of college. Students can also invest their time and energy in preparing for testing. Universities require SAT or ACT score reports and it is important not to just "show up" and take the test but actually spend time preparing. There are review books, tutoring courses and free online study materials which can help students be more prepared on test day.
Additionally, students should not put all of their "eggs in one basket". They should apply to several schools. They should identify one "dream school" or a school they consider to be a long shot, one or two that would definitely match their level of academics and finances, and then one that would be easy to enter. This gives them options, and they are not relying solely on the decision of a single school. If there is a school that a student feels passionate about attending, he or she can complete an early application. If a student applies for early decision, then they are more likely to get accepted, but they have to attend if accepted. Early action is similar but is not binding for the student. This action can improve a student's chance to get accepted to the school that they want, but they also have to be certain to complete this for schools they really want to attend.
Finally, students can improve their chance of acceptance by making connections and developing their portfolio. They can reach out to the school of interest and can visit the campus. They can be sure to get to know people there. They also need to be sure that they are known at their high school and are getting involved in their community. Teachers can write better recommendation letters for students they know well and students who are involved and serve others. The students have more information to share in essays about what they have done and who they have impacted if they actually make community connections.
Futures Academy is a college prep private school which has the knowledge and resources to help students get accepted into college. This is supported by the fact that 96% of their students who apply for college are accepted. This summer, Futures Academy is offering college admissions camps. Camp topics include: Intro to Post-Secondary Counseling, Test Prep, Resume Building, Essay Writing, and more! Throughout the year, their college admissions counselors also offer complimentary webinars. If you want to put your best foot forward in school and be prepared for the future, consider Futures Academy for your academic journey.