Waiting to hear back from colleges about your acceptance can be stressful. Basically, your first steps into adult world are being determined by an admissions counselor based on endless factors. Did you take enough AP classes? Did you do enough extracurricular activities? Should you have applied earlier? Is your admissions essay unique enough? It’s hard not to constantly think about all these things but some things may not matter as much as you think. Ease your mind and check out these myths about admissions.
MYTH #1: THE APPLICATION IS THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS
Universities that you apply for track you. They keep a record of how many times you have contacted the school, if you’ve arranged for a campus visit, or if you’ve requested more information. Doing these added steps really show colleges your interest and it can give you the extra push that you need to get in.
Part of a university’s prestige is its yield rate, which refers to the number of accepted applicants who actually enroll. Showing additional interest will give the admissions counselors confidence that you will actually attend if they accept you.
MYTH #2: EXTRACURRICULARS ARE NECESSARY
The best way to impress admissions counselors, as always, is to authentically pursue what interests you. The broad majority of applicants will actually be overqualified for the colleges they apply to and will also have various extracurriculars and experiences. In turn, admissions officers are looking for applicants who have had leadership roles or have played an important role in a major project or organization. It is best to have fewer activities where you focused and made a difference rather than more where you were just a participant.
MYTH #3: AVERAGE GRADES IN DIFFICULT CLASSES ARE BETTER THAN A’S IN EASY ONES
Of course, colleges and universities like to see students take demanding classes in high school. However, selective schools usually don’t like grades that are below a B; struggling in more than one difficult class is not seen as a plus. So, unless students can manage a B or higher in higher-level courses, it is probably best to just stick with regular classes.
Admissions officers says that although grade point averages can be boosted because of challenging classes, they can tell when a GPA is bloated. This is because high schools use distinct grading systems and offer course with the same title but differing levels of difficulty. In fact, many universities have a system of their own to recalculate GPAs.
MYTH #4: ADMISSIONS ESSAYS AREN’T A BIG DEAL
Essays can be the deciding factor when it comes to students whom admissions counselors are on the fence about. A student with average grades and test scores could catch counselors’ attention with a well-crafted, insightful essay or they can be rejected for a crummy one.
Submitting bad essays can always hurt your application even if you are an ideal candidate. You may be in a position where you don’t exactly need to submit an extraordinary essay, but a procrastinated essay or one that clearly shows that you didn’t put much effort into it can knock you out of the running.