College Admissions Myth #1: High school is just a resume builder

College Admissions Myth Busted: High School is *NOT* just a resume builder. This is one of our favorite myths to bust.  Students and parents often ask us: what are colleges looking for on an activities resume?  Typically, what students and parents are really asking is, “what are the most impressive and/or important activities to pursue in high school”?  Or, “what will make a resume look great when the time comes to apply for college”?  The answer is that all activities have potential.  In addition to pursuing the most rigorous academic program for the individual student, students should spend time pursuing what interests them.  Like music? Participate in band, orchestra, chorus, or take a part in the musical.  Don’t like music? Don’t pursue these activities.  Sports, student government, literary pursuits, musical, artistic, and volunteer activities should be pursued because you love them or think you do and want to try them out.   Whatever your interest, go the distance.  It is always impressive to show depth and breadth within an area.  Fine tune your skills and experience by taking on leadership roles within whatever organization you participate. Become captain of the debate team; spearhead and organize a food drive through the key club, or a new fundraiser for a a great philanthropic cause.  At the end of the day, all these activities that you have enjoyed and have committed your time to will build you an impressive resume.  They will also make you a more interesting applicant AND  help you focus on what you like and (possibly just as important) dislike.  This organic method of building your resume will shed natural light on the real you.  That is really all that admissions officers want: to get to know the real...
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Senioritis

Senioritis, that age-old illness that seems to strike all high school seniors for most of the year, should be avoided at all costs! Your final year in high school is an important one.  While you have heard this before, it is worth hearing over and over again because it is critical.  Your high school transcript is the most significant piece of information that you send to colleges.  College admissions officers look for an upward trending progression on your transcript.  They want to see the degree of difficulty of courses increase as your progress through high school and they want to see your grades improve at the same time.  This is (of course) asking a lot.  But if you focus on selecting your courses well throughout your high school career and slowly but surely build effective and efficient study skills –you will have a transcript that attests to your commitment and your abilities. In your senior year it is important to stay on course for two significant reasons.  First, your grades (as noted above) will impact your college admissions opportunities.  Your first semester, trimester, or quarter reports will be sent with you initial application.  Additionally, you will be forwarding a mid-year report to most schools.  What you might not realize, is that you will also submit an end-of-year report to the school that you will attend.  If this end-of-year report shows a serious drop-off in grades (also known as a bad case of senioritis)–expect to hear from your college advisor.   Both of us have both worked with first year students who have been contacted prior to matriculation to explain their poor end of high school academic situation.   It is rare, but it has happened that students have had their admissions status rescinded. Second, students continue to prepare themselves for college courses by a strong finish to their senior year in high school.  Remember, these should be your toughest courses in high school.  Next year all of your courses will be as hard or harder.   A strong finish to the year will prepare you for a strong start to your college career. So, keep plugging away on your courses.  A strong finish will pay off in multiple...
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