Whether you're a high school student looking to go to college or a parent gearing up to send your child off to college, the college admissions process can be overwhelming. There are so many myths and misconceptions about college admissions that knowing where to start can take a lot of work. But fear not; we've got you covered. Here are 20 facts — and 3 myths! — that will help you better understand the college admissions process.
20 Basic Facts About College Admissions
- Colleges don't just look at your grades and test scores. Admissions officers also consider extracurricular activities, community service, and personal essays.
- Admissions decisions are not solely based on whether you get accepted or rejected. You can also be put on the waitlist or receive a deferral.
- Know the difference: “early decision” is a binding agreement, “early action” is not.
- Colleges have different admission deadlines. Some have rolling admissions and accept applications throughout the year, while others have a set application deadline.
- Demonstrated interest can play a role in admissions decisions. This means showing interest in the college through visits, attending information sessions, and communicating with admissions officers.
- Applying to college can be expensive. Fees can range from $40-$100 per application.
- College acceptance rates can be misleading. Some colleges may have a higher acceptance rate but are more selective with their applicant pool.
- Athletes and children of alums may receive preferential treatment in admissions.
- Colleges consider recommendation letters from teachers, coaches, or mentors in their admissions decisions.
- Your choice of major may impact your chances of getting accepted. Some colleges have limited space in specific majors.
- Applying early can sometimes increase your chances of getting accepted.
- You may be required to submit a standardized test score (SAT, ACT) for admission, but some colleges offer test-optional admission.
- It's important to research colleges and their admission requirements before applying. Know what they're looking for in their ideal candidate.
- It's okay to apply to multiple colleges. In fact, it's encouraged! But make sure you manage your time and budget wisely.
- The Common Application is a popular, streamlined way to apply to multiple colleges simultaneously.
- You can use a College Net Price Calculator to estimate the cost of attending a specific college.
- You may be required to write a separate essay or personal statement for each college you apply to.
- Many colleges offer financial aid, scholarships, and grants to help offset the cost of attendance.
- You can choose to attend a community college before transferring to a four-year university to save money on tuition.
- The college you attend does not define your future success. What you do with your education and experiences is what matters most.
3 Myths About College Admissions
- Perfect grades guarantee admission
Grades are indeed important when applying to college. However, perfect grades alone won't guarantee admission. Admissions officers look at various factors beyond GPA, including extracurricular activities, leadership roles, volunteering, essays, and recommendation letters.
- Attending the “most prestigious college” is critical
The most selective Ivy League colleges have become synonymous with the highest quality education. But these universities are not always the best fit for every student. Remember, the most prestigious colleges might not offer the best learning environment for your interests and goals.
- It's too late to improve your chances if you're already in high school.
It's never too early to start preparing for the college application process, but there is always time to make a change. Consider improving your grades by retaking courses or taking classes at community college over the summer. Volunteering, joining clubs, and improving your grades and test scores in junior and senior years can also enhance your college application.
Choose the Experts in College Admissions
The college admissions process can be complex, but understanding these important facts can help guide you through the process. Remember, college is a time for growth and exploration, so don't be afraid to explore your options and go after what you want. You can ensure a successful college experience by staying informed and being proactive. Get in touch with the professionals at Educational Attainment Services for all of your college fact questions.