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Ivy League Admission Tips: Avoiding Common Mistakes, Part 1

The admissions landscape for the top colleges and universities in the United States has never been more competitive. Every year, thousands of high school students apply to the Ivy League schools with little chance of being admitted, which is understandable considering the abundance of conflicting information on how to craft a strong college admissions profile. Often, well-meaning parents, teachers, and guidance counselors give students erroneous advice on how to gain admission to prestigious schools. For example, being “well-rounded” is often touted as a surefire way to craft a competitive admissions profile—but applicants who do not excel in one specific area are rarely accepted to the best schools.

In this article, we consider some of the common mistakes applicants make during the admissions process. Most of these mistakes can be avoided easily, but all of them will lower your chances of being admitted to your first-choice school. Always keep these Ivy League admission tips in mind as you go about the college application process.

Spending Time on Many Unrelated Activities

You should focus on a handful of meaningful activities that suit your unique theme and narrative. Having a focused list of extracurricular activities is much more valuable than having an overly balanced list. Remember, you should try to excel in one area of interest: your academics, personal story, and overall application theme should all prove that you will accomplish great things in that field.

Failing to Take the Required Classes

If you want to be admitted to a top college, you must meet the school’s academic requirements. Before applying, carefully research each of your potential schools’ required high school classes—if you fail to take all the required classes, the admissions officers will deny your application.

Exaggerating or Lying

More than anything else, admissions officers value transparency, honesty, and integrity. Intentional dishonesty is a certain path to rejection. So, never be dishonest about your ethnicity, how many hours you spent on activities, whether or not you toured the college, and other details on your application.

Waiting Until the Last Minute

While you shouldn’t rush to submit your college applications, you shouldn’t wait until the last minute, either. Plan on writing the essay, securing recommendations, and finessing all the other parts of your application well before the deadline.

Wasting Summers

You may feel tempted to take it easy during summers, but doing so will weaken your admissions profile. Be prepared to spend your summers reading, learning, researching, preparing for entrance exams, interning, working, or otherwise engaging in activities that will enhance your theme and narrative.

Failing to Prepare for the ACT or SAT

You will likely need to invest significant time and energy to do well on the SAT or the ACT. If your score is disappointing, you may have to retake the test. Of course, this is perfectly acceptable— but only up to a point. The admissions officers reviewing your application may be concerned if you took an entrance exam more than twice. If you are unsatisfied with your test results, be sure to allow yourself enough time to prepare before taking the exam again.

Confusing One School with Another

As you prepare your applications for each college, double-check that the essay does not accidentally include the name of another college you are applying to. Moreover, take care not to mistakenly refer to a program, professor, or student-led organization from another college. Needless to say, this will make your application seem less credible.

Admittedly, gaining admission to the best schools in the United States often requires years of preparation. We would be delighted to provide you with the best Ivy League admission strategies and help you develop a compelling application theme and narrative. Schedule a meeting with Ivy League Prep to learn more.

Ivy League Admission Tips: How Volunteering Can Strengthen Your Admissions Profile

Given the remarkable competitiveness of the college admissions landscape, many students believe that they have to engage in all sorts of extracurricular activities to make their college applications stand out. As a result, many applicants strive to play an instrument, excel at a sport, join after-school clubs, participate in science competitions, and the like. However, these activities will do little to make your admissions profile more competitive if they are unrelated to your theme and narrative: the extracurricular activities you choose should closely match your unique admissions profile.

Volunteering is one of the extracurricular activities that many students participate in just to make their college applications more well-rounded. However, volunteering just to add something to your applications will not do much to impress the admissions officers. Moreover, your commitment to volunteering must be sincere if you want to use that activity to craft a stronger applicant profile.

In this article, we briefly examine some Ivy League admission strategies for incorporating volunteering into your college applications.

Be Authentic

Admissions officers value honesty and transparency, so any volunteer work you do needs to be motivated by a genuine desire to help people. Whether you work with underprivileged children, sing at a nursing home, or serve homeless people at a soup kitchen, the admissions officers should be able to tell that you genuinely care for your community.

Show Commitment

How much volunteering is needed to strengthen your admissions profile? One of the most important factors to consider is your level of commitment. Many high schools require their students to engage in some sort of volunteering, and the vast majority of college applicants note this in their applications. Therefore, volunteering sporadically will not set you apart from your peers. In contrast, showing exceptional commitment to an organization or a good cause for a number of years will definitely make your admissions profile stand out.

Be Indispensable

The admissions officers will be impressed if you hold an important position at the organization you volunteer with; simply filling a nondescript role will not make you stand out. Instead of being just another volunteer, try to become an indispensable member of the organization. As with any other activity, the key is to show deep commitment, initiative, and passion. Do your best to make a difference in your community and reveal your positive qualities: doing so will make your college applications much more competitive.

If you are truly dedicated to serving others, it will be relatively easy to show it in your college applications. Of course, you will have to list the names of the organizations you have served in along with the corresponding number of hours. You can also go beyond this and write about your commitment to these organizations in the personal essay or additional information section. Be sure to mention any recognitions you have received for your service. Moreover, if any of your teachers are familiar with your volunteering work, you should consider asking them for a letter of recommendation.

Clearly, it takes more than just a few hours of community service to show the admissions officers that you are a diligent, responsible, and selfless individual. If you follow the above Ivy League admission strategies, you’ll be able to craft a unique and compelling applicant profile that will highlight your hard work and regard for the well-being of others. Remember: the key is to be authentic, show commitment, and fill a key role at the organization you volunteer with. Book a consultation with Ivy League Prep for more tips on how to get accepted into the best colleges and universities.

Ivy League Admission Tips: Making the Most of College Visits

Soon it will be time to send in your college applications, and you’re trying to identify the schools that will work best for you. Making a list of target colleges certainly requires a lot of time and research, but how can you narrow down that list to a few realistic options? One of the best ways to get to know a college is to schedule a campus visit. By touring the campus, seeing the classrooms, and meeting students and faculty, you will get a feel for the college’s unique characteristics; as a result, it will be much easier to determine whether you want to apply to that school. Visiting potential colleges is an important Ivy League admission strategy.

Even though you have many resources at your disposal to help you get acquainted with potential colleges—such as virtual tours, blogs, and even conversations with alumni—nothing can adequately substitute for a campus visit. In this article, we discuss some important considerations for planning college visits and then examine strategies for making the most of your time on campus.

Planning a College Visit

Generally, the best time to schedule your college visits is during the spring of junior year. When planning your visits, consider how much time you have available, the distances you’re willing to travel, and how much you are willing to spend.

Since one of the main purposes of visiting college campuses is to help you refine your preliminary college list, you should visit as many of your top target schools as possible. Still, don’t feel that you have to visit every school on your preliminary list. In fact, carefully choosing which colleges to visit should help you narrow down your list to 10–12 schools.

Get to Know the School

While visiting college campuses may be exciting and enjoyable, the main goal of the visit is to get to know the school well. Therefore, make sure to be engaged and pay attention during the visit. You should take in the campus, watch the students and faculty, and try to get a feel for the overall culture and atmosphere of the college.

Attend the Information Session and Take the Tour

Information sessions and tours can be invaluable resources. Be sure to ask questions, talking to admissions officers, tour guides, students, and even faculty members whenever possible. For example, you can ask the admissions officers about the application process; inquire about what they look for in applications and essays, how financial aid requirements affect admissions decisions, and what kinds of students seem to thrive at the school.

Spend Unscheduled Time Exploring Campus

In addition to attending the information session and taking the tour, take time to explore the campus on your own. You might scan some bulletin boards to get a sense of upcoming activities, watch how students interact with one another, and ask any questions you have along the way.

Document Your Visit

Whenever you visit a college, carefully process what you see: you’ll be taking in a lot of information relatively quickly. If you don’t document what you learn during each visit, it might be difficult to keep track of each school’s characteristics when refining your list of colleges. Immediately after a visit, write down what you liked and didn’t like about the school, what stood out, and any other thoughts about the experience. Try to be as specific as possible.

College visits are key to crafting a realistic and balanced list of potential schools; make the most of each visit by following the above Ivy League admission strategies. Ivy League Prep would be delighted to provide further guidance on how to gain acceptance to your target schools.

Ivy League Admission Tips: Common College Interview Topics

Your college interviews are drawing near, and you want to make the best impression possible; after all, performing well on your interviews could ultimately get you accepted into your target schools.

Keep in mind that you won’t be able to anticipate all of the questions the interviewer will ask. Questions will vary from one interviewer to another, so planning your answers word-for-word is not the best use of your time. Rather than thinking about specific questions, you should consider the themes and topics that will likely come up and prepare to discuss them with specific details and examples. Thinking in general rather than specific terms when preparing for each interview is an important Ivy League admission strategy.

These are some of the themes and topics likely to be addressed during your college admissions interviews:


The interviewer may ask about your family, giving you an opportunity to highlight any interesting and unique background details that will add to your admissions narrative. You should focus on the details about your family, not just discussing the what but dwelling on the why.

Intellectual Curiosity

Much of the interview will be spent answering questions about your academic interests, both in and out of the classroom. The interviewer will likely ask about the academic subjects you are interested in. Instead of simply listing each subject, explain what intrigues you about it, what piqued your interest in it, and what you hope to accomplish in that field.

High School

The more substantive questions will relate to which courses you took in high school. Feel free to elaborate here, drawing on specific experiences to illustrate your reasoning.

You may also be asked more profound questions about your high school years. For example, the interviewer may ask you to share the biggest regret, disappointment, or failure you experienced in high school. They may also ask you what you would change about your high school.


One of the most important topics you’ll discuss in your interview is your plan for college—why you are interested in the school, what you plan to study, and why the college should accept your application. These questions require careful research and a fresh memory; the last thing you want to do is speak at length about the major you intend to pursue, only to find out that the college doesn’t even offer that major.

Extracurricular Activities & Interests

The interviewer may inquire about your extracurricular activities, hobbies, interests, talents, employment experience, summer activities, and recreational activities.

While you should generally avoid talking too much about your basic extracurricular activities and interests, do take time to discuss any activities that align with your application theme and narrative. For example, if you are passionate about a particular issue and started a nonprofit, explain why the organization is important, what it is accomplishing, and why you are passionate about that cause.

Personality and Character

The admissions interview may include questions that focus less on what you have done and more on who you are, that is, your character and personality. You may be asked to describe your strengths or weaknesses, discuss times you showed leadership, or share your dreams and aspirations. Questions like these may be difficult to prepare for, so you should just be genuine—remember, it’s okay to pause for a few moments to think before responding.

Again, the key to succeeding in your college interviews is not to memorize your answers. Rather, make sure you are familiar with all of the above topics and can clearly explain what your interests are. If you can convincingly tie in your academic goals with your unique narrative, the interviewer will likely be impressed.

Visit our blog for more Ivy League admission tips that will help you gain admission to your top-choice schools.

Ivy League Admission Tips: How to Approach Your College Interviews

You’ll want to make the best possible impression during your college interviews, so you need to conduct yourself in an engaging, professional way. The following Ivy League admission strategies will help you impress your interviewers and gain admission to your top-choice schools.

Be Engaged

You need to show engagement throughout the entire interview. This means that you should make eye contact, politely greet the interviewer with a firm handshake, listen carefully, and avoid distractions. Also, consider bringing your résumé (with a copy for the interviewer) and some notes to help keep you focused.

Be Professional

You need to present yourself as a mature, professional applicant. Therefore, do your best to be polite, show respect, speak clearly, and give the interviewer your undivided attention (be especially careful not to glance at your phone). Avoid interrupting the interviewer and do not appear eager to be done with the interview.

Think Before Answering

When you are asked a question, pause and think before answering. Try to develop your unique narrative throughout the interview; give answers that naturally tie in with your story. Instead of saying whatever comes to mind, make sure to share the information that is most relevant to your personal application theme and narrative.

Explain the Why

One of the most important strategies to keep in mind is to explain the why behind the what. All of the topics you’ll discuss in your interview—your courses, interests, activities, and college plans—will lose their significance if they fail to tell your story. Therefore, you must explain the why behind your activities and accomplishments.

However, try to go beyond the why of your admissions profile; also explain why you are interested in the interviewer’s school and how that college will help you achieve your career and academic goals. Doing so will prove that you will be a valuable asset to the school.

Express Interest in the College

Even if the college in question is not your first pick, you should indicate that you will likely attend if you are admitted. This might raise questions about whether you are planning to apply early decision. If the application deadline has passed, then the interviewer might ask why you did not apply early decision or early action. Be ready to give an honest answer. For example, you can explain that your application was not ready by the deadline. Still, take care not to suggest that you applied early decision or early action to another college.

Demonstrate Substance

You should be well-prepared and present yourself in a polished manner while keeping substance in mind. Admissions interviewers can see through shallow applicants regardless of their confidence, charisma, or communication skills. The reverse is also true—interviewers are typically able to recognize an applicant’s substance even if the latter is shy or reserved.

Save Questions for the End

Save your questions for the end of the interview. Remember, the admissions interview is an opportunity for you to take a single-sentence question and provide a deep, expansive answer. Instead of breaking the flow of your narrative, stay focused on showing why you are a compelling applicant.

When the time comes to ask questions, you need to have at least four or five. Do some preliminary research about the college and ask questions that cannot be easily answered by checking its website. For example, you might want to ask about the strengths and availability of the college’s faculty. Alternatively, you could inquire about campus social life, interesting events, or unique opportunities—anything that won’t readily be found online but that will give you a taste of what the college has to offer.

Preparing for the college interview is just one of the many steps in the competitive college admissions process. Learn more about Ivy League Prep’s complete guidance programs and find out how we help our clients gain admission to top schools.

Ivy League Admission Tips: How to Evaluate Potential Colleges

Choosing a college is one of the most important decisions you’ll make during high school. If you find a college that suits your academic, career, and personal goals, it will be much easier to succeed after graduation. When assessing potential schools, you should consider the following factors to determine if the college works for you.


A college’s location has a significant impact on its character. You should evaluate the potential college’s geography, climate, demographics, and local amenities. When doing so, try to identify your personal preferences. For instance, you may want to stay relatively close to home or avoid cold weather. Also, you may either prefer the amenities offered by large cities or the quiet of smaller towns.

Funding: Public or Private

The nature of a school’s funding has a bearing on its cost, academics, and campus environment. State-funded colleges and universities tend to have lower tuition costs and a much larger enrollment. On the other hand, private colleges are usually more expensive, enroll fewer students, and offer more financial aid.


As mentioned above, a college’s cost largely depends on whether it is public or private. Still, every school is different, and the financial aid opportunities offered will be unique for each student. For example, a public college that offers in-state tuition may be much more accessible than a public college in another state. The financial aid opportunities available to you will depend on your grades, test scores, accomplishments, and other factors. Make sure to look into any available scholarships or grants.


The size of a college influences just about every aspect of the institution. Still, larger and smaller schools each have their strengths and weaknesses, so a college’s size is a less critical factor to consider. For instance, larger schools tend to have more majors, higher athletics rankings, and a broader range of opportunities. In contrast, smaller schools usually have a stronger sense of community, smaller class sizes, and more accessible professors.


Each school’s nature and character have been developed by its unique history. You can be sure that every college has strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and traditions, all of which relate to its history.

For example, you may prefer schools that have historically strong participation in fraternities and sororities. If you are an athlete, then you’ll want a college with a history of excelling at your sport.

Culture and Diversity

A campus’s culture is largely determined by the backgrounds, interests, and lifestyles of the students and staff. As a result, the demographics of a college strongly influence its culture.

For example, a school with a large number of international students will offer a more diverse culture. Associating with students from different backgrounds will make the learning experience unique for everyone.


The education offered by each potential school is likely the most important factor you must consider. When evaluating a school’s academics, examine its majors, minors, concentrations, and offered courses. Does the college match your academic interests and goals?

Also, do some research on other matters related to the school’s academics. Can students easily transfer from one of the university’s colleges to another? Does the school employ an open curriculum, or are there certain core course requirements? How are classes structured and taught?

Extracurricular Activities

During high school, you have likely become interested in a handful of extracurricular activities, and you may want to continue to pursue them in college. Find out what extracurriculars, volunteer opportunities, clubs, and other activities are offered by each school.

Choosing a college may be challenging, but these Ivy League admission tips will help you craft a realistic list of schools that suit your needs. Book an initial consultation with Ivy League Prep for more guidance on how to gain admission to the best possible schools.

Ivy League Admission Tips: Personal Factors to Consider When Choosing a College

Making a list of potential colleges and later narrowing it down to a select few may seem like a daunting task; after all, you must consider numerous factors such as your academic preferences and financial situation. Before determining whether a particular college is a good fit, you should give some thought to your personal preferences. This doesn’t mean that you need to know everything about yourself—self-discovery is a lifelong process, but you should be able to determine if the school suits your unique identity.

The more you know about yourself, the better equipped you will be to evaluate potential colleges carefully. Therefore, you should decide what you want to accomplish in college and how you plan to accomplish it. In so doing, you will be able to rule out colleges that don’t match your goals. For example, if you want to pursue computer science, schools with fewer computer science courses will be less appealing than those with rigorous computer science programs. By comparing your priorities against what colleges offer, you will be able to quickly spot colleges that align with your personal and academic objectives.

So, as you make a list of the schools you want to apply to, try to identify your personal priorities. Make sure each college will give you the resources you need to succeed. If a college cannot provide you with your must-have priorities, then it isn’t a good option. You should also consider your lesser priorities: programs or features you would like but could live without.

When choosing potential colleges, follow these Ivy League admission tips to make sure each school aligns with your personal preferences:

Values and Interests

Your unique way of looking at and interacting with the world should have a bearing on your choice of college. Do you thrive in larger or smaller classes? Do you like to get away to walk somewhere quiet and peaceful, or would you prefer to study in a crowded café?

Identify any important priorities related to your lifestyle and find colleges that fit those preferences. Also, make a list of the activities and interests you would like to pursue in college.

Remember to weigh your values, interests, and needs against the college’s core identity and set of priorities. For instance, you might do research to find out whether the college is known for being conservative, liberal, or somewhere in between. If you would like to champion a particular social issue or have a unique interest, find out if the college has any related student-led organizations.


Every college community is different, but so is every student’s concept of an ideal community. You will have to determine how much weight to place on the school’s proximity to family and friends. Further, you should assess how important social interaction will be to you during your college years.


One of the primary factors to consider when selecting colleges is your academic area of interest. Make sure that your potential schools all align with your planned course of study. Making a detailed list of the academic subjects you want to focus on in college will be helpful.


You should consider your expectations for college life and for your career after graduation. What do you want to learn and experience? What do you hope to gain from college? Try to think in general rather than specific terms. For example, instead of trying to decide exactly what kind of business you want to start after graduating, you should simply determine that you want to study business to eventually found a company.

Ivy League Prep can provide you with invaluable guidance during the competitive admissions process. Book an initial consultation to find out more about our complete guidance programs.

Ivy League Admission Tips: What to Do the Summer Before College

Once you have graduated from high school and been accepted into college, the hard work involved in crafting an outstanding application theme and a compelling narrative will be behind you. Still, that doesn’t mean you should just relax during the summer before college. Instead, you should make the most of your summer by spending extra time with family and friends, refining any underdeveloped skills, preparing your résumé for internships and jobs, and beginning the transition to college life. These Ivy League admission tips will help you get ready for your long-awaited first day of college.

Spend Time with Family and Friends

The summer before college is a great time to focus on family, especially if you will be moving far away. Spend quality time together at local events or go on a special family vacation. Further, the summer before freshman year in college will likely be one of your last opportunities to spend time with high school friends, so you should take whatever opportunities are available to enjoy socializing with your peers.

Hone Your Skills

While you can take advantage of the summer to catch up on leisure activities, you should also take out time to consider your weaknesses and hone your skills. If you struggle with time management, for instance, you might read or listen to a few books on how to better manage your time. Other options include participating in a writing workshop, working through online tutorials for Microsoft Office, reading a book on money management, or taking a course on research methods and tools.

Prepare a Résumé

If you have not yet created a résumé, the summer before college is the time to do so. A résumé is not a static document; it should change as you develop new skills, acquire greater work experience, and expand your education. If you created a résumé for the admissions process, you must now update it to reflect that you have graduated from high school and enrolled in college. As you develop or refine your résumé, you should focus on your successes and accomplishments, using numbers to demonstrate impact.

You should also highlight any community projects or nonprofit organizations you have been involved with. Again, the focus should be on impact and measurable results. As you prepare to use your résumé for future internship and job applications, be sure to review and customize it for each new role.

Transitioning Toward College Life

Obviously, the summer before college will be a time of transition. Soon, you’ll experience more freedom as well as increased responsibility. Summer is a good time for you to tie up loose ends and prepare for your new role as a college student.

For example, you might organize your room, update your wardrobe, and get maintenance done on your car. You should make sure that your bank account is easily accessible at college; local and regional banks may not have a branch near the school, so you might have to set up an account at a national bank with branches near the school. Additionally, you may need to shop for clothing and accessories (keeping presentations and interviews in mind), a college planner, a laptop, and other items.

Enjoy Summer Responsibly

Keep in mind that colleges can rescind your acceptance based on behavior. You should be careful about what you post online—admissions officers could deem your social media memes, jokes, or comments inappropriate. Depending on the severity of the charges, getting arrested can also result in a rescind letter.

The path to successful college admissions requires years of hard academic and extracurricular work, but gaining acceptance to a prestigious school is well worth the effort. Book an initial consultation to learn how Ivy League Prep can help you succeed in every stage of the admissions process.

Ivy League Admission Tips: What to Do During Senior Year

Senior year is one of the most demanding stages of high school, but it is also one of the most exciting and rewarding.

Your main responsibilities during senior year will be to keep your grades high and submit your college applications on time. Eventually, you will receive each college’s response. If you are accepted through early decision, then your college decision will already be made. However, if you receive multiple regular decision acceptance letters, you’ll have to choose between the schools that accepted you.

So, what steps must you take to receive those coveted acceptance letters? The following Ivy League admission tips will help you strengthen your applicant profile during senior year.

Academic Planning

As you select your course load for senior year, strive to make it as demanding as possible. To gain admission to top colleges, you will need to take a number of specific AP courses or their equivalents: English, a foreign language, history, math, and science. You have likely taken some of these classes already; if not, be sure to take them this year.

Admissions officers will examine your grades during senior year, so now is not the time to take it easy. Keeping your grades high during senior year will show the admissions staff that you are responsible and determined to succeed.

Standardized Testing

If you aren’t satisfied with one or more of your standardized test scores, you’ll have one last chance to improve your score in the fall of senior year. Taking the ACT or the SAT in your senior year is generally unadvisable; still, if you spent considerable time preparing for the test over the summer, you will likely be able to improve your score.

Extracurricular Activities

If you have not yet made your extracurricular activities stand out with a major accomplishment (such as founding a community project, creating a business, or entering a major competition), try to do so early in your senior year. The first few months of senior year will be the final opportunity to include an impressive accomplishment on your college applications. Keep in mind that you will still be able to update the admissions officers on any new achievements after sending your applications.

College Applications

Before finalizing and submitting your applications, you should schedule a meeting with your high school guidance counselor. During this meeting, discuss your list of potential colleges and ask for feedback on your application essays.

If you are applying through early decision or early action, you’ll have to send your applications before the deadline, which is typically in early or mid-November. For regular decision applications, which are usually due on January 1, you’ll have a little more time to finish writing and reviewing each section of the application. As you enter December, focus on making sure that your applications are complete. If possible, review and proofread your applications early in the month. Then, submit them before January 1, preferably several days before the deadline.

College Decision

If you are admitted through early decision, then you’ll already know which college you’ll attend! Similarly, if you are offered admission through early action, you’ll have at least one secure option. At this point, you should contact the other colleges you applied to and let them know about this early admission offer.

On the other hand, if you applied regular decision, you’ll have to wait until late spring to hear back from the colleges. Then, with one or two acceptance letters in hand, you’ll have to make a final decision. Discuss the pros and cons of each college with your parents, considering the school’s academics, financial aid offers, and other factors. Then, be sure to submit your decision before the May 1 deadline. Congratulations!

Evidently, the college admissions process takes a lot of hard work, but the thrill of receiving acceptance letters from top schools is well worth the effort. Book an initial consultation with Ivy League Prep to learn more about how we can help you succeed and gain admission to the most prestigious schools.

Ivy League Admission Tips: Preparing for College Admissions as a Junior

Your junior year of high school is a great time to boost your admissions profile’s competitiveness, both in terms of academics and extracurricular pursuits. In addition to taking on a heavy course load, you will have to prepare for and take college entrance exams. Demonstrating leadership and innovation should also be a high priority during your junior year.

Academic Planning

This will likely be your most academically challenging year of high school. To craft a competitive admission profile, you need to pursue several AP and other honors courses.

Your grades during your junior year are vital, so you should strive to do well in all your classes. However, keep in mind that getting As should not be an end in itself. Rather, you should do your best to excel and pursue subjects of interest even beyond the classroom.

As you complete academic projects and research papers, make sure to save that work; it may be useful for your college applications.

Standardized Testing

Many students focus on college entrance exams during their junior year. Still, if you have already taken the PSAT and the ACT, your junior year will be much less stressful. Further, you will have more exam scores to choose from.

Starting in August, you should focus on preparing for the PSAT, which is typically taken in October. You should plan to take the PSAT during your junior year because your scores will not be reported to colleges.

Take the ACT in October or December and compare your score to your latest PSAT score. If your ACT score is significantly higher than the PSAT score and will make your admissions profile competitive, then there’s no need for you to take the SAT. On the other hand, if you are not satisfied with your ACT score, you should consider retaking the ACT or choosing to take the SAT instead. Remember that you will always be able to retake these exams in the fall of your senior year.

Extracurricular Activities

While the main focus of your junior year should be on keeping your grades up and scoring well on standardized tests, you must also pursue your core interests. Junior year is the time for you to really let your leadership and innovation shine through.

For your college applications to be successful, you must develop a unique admissions narrative. Your narrative should feature a climax or high point; preferably, this climax should take place toward the end of junior year or in the summer before senior year. Therefore, junior year is the time to start and lead an innovative community project, create a business, enter a major competition, or engage in some other creative leadership activity. Your goal should be to showcase an impressive accomplishment that matches your unique narrative.

Summer Activities

This summer, you should strongly consider pursuing an academic program in the U.S. or abroad. Alternatively, you could continue on a major writing, art, research, or community outreach project that you started on previously. Whichever activity you choose, try to do something meaningful and interesting that suits your application’s theme and narrative.

College Visits and Applications

Sometime in the spring, you should develop a list of potential colleges. Once you’ve created a list of schools, arrange a meeting with your parents and your school counselor to discuss your choices.

Generally, you should wait until the summer to visit the colleges that interest you. This way, you’ll have time to develop your list of potential colleges without missing class or getting behind on your schoolwork.

Admittedly, all of these suggestions may seem like a lot of work. However, as you enter your senior year, you’ll realize that all your efforts were worth it. With so much of the application process completed or underway, you will be able to focus on performing well academically and enjoying an amazing senior year of high school. Book an initial consultation to learn more about how Ivy League Prep helps its clients craft the strongest possible admissions profiles.