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Each year, college admissions offices receive thousands of applications from eligible high school students. However, schools only admit a certain number of applicants. So how do admissions counselors determine which students are admitted? Here’s the secret: Admissions counselors look for students who excel in and out of the classroom. This same principle carries on throughout your college career.

Campus Communities
Admissions counselors look for students involved in different organizations, such as honor societies, musical groups, gardening clubs and student government. In college, community is key, and admissions counselors check for a consistent record of school involvement. Make sure to participate in school activities, as it shows counselors you’re motivated to establish connections with peers and the community.

Guidance Counselors: Your New Best Friend
On a high school campus, guidance counselors are the equivalent to a college admissions counselor. High school counselors are an invaluable resource to students as they help assess student skills, interests and encourage career goals. Meeting with a guidance counselor on a bi-weekly or even weekly basis is a great way to monitor school progress and remain familiar with the collegiate application process. They can also give more specific advice on how to know engineering is right for you and how to get into engineering school should you want to explore a STEM career path.

Sport Your School Spirit
Colleges seek students who challenge themselves in different settings. A great way to diversify your resume is to join your favorite sports team. Not only are you staying active, but you’re also learning to continuously work with others while supporting your school.

Start a Club
OK, so maybe sports aren’t your thing. But you have a knack for electronics. Creating a club or school organization is another standout quality. Creating a group requires initiative, organization and commitment – three important qualities college counselors look for in student candidates. Plus, it’s a great way to connect with students who share the same hobbies as you.

Become an Intern
Believe it or not, internships are not just for college students. Admissions counselors seek out students who put their free time or summer break to use. Interning during high school allows the opportunity to gain insight on jobs or careers that interest you, and opens the door to possible internship or job opportunities in the future. 

Social Media Cleanup
Social media has become an essential way to communicate. But not all social media is positive. Maintaining professional social media profiles is pivotal for college-bound students. Admissions counselors take into account your overall reputation as a student, including your online presence. So keep it clean!

Do Your Homework
Colleges want to know the reason you’ve chosen to apply to their school. Research your potential college or university, and make sure you understand its key values, principles and mission statement. Admissions counselors know which applicants did their homework. The college application process starts long before your senior year; it starts the first day you step foot on your high school campus.

Create an environment for yourself that complements your academic standing but distinguishes you from your peers. Become involved within your school community; run for office in your school’s student government; and make sure you stay familiar with the collegiate application process. These are great practices to get accustomed to in high school, as they carry on throughout your educational career.

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