Admission News Applying to College

From School to Success: Securing Your Dream College 

Written by CB Community

When you are at school, it seems like everyone is constantly asking you, what’s next? From a young age, you are repeatedly told that you need to work hard in order to achieve the things you want.

So, what if you want a spot at an Ivy League School? How do you achieve that?

If this sounds like you, or someone you know, keep reading. Here is the ultimate guide on how to leave school and prepare for college success.

It Starts with Studying

There is a good reason why your teachers and parents tell you that you will need to study hard to get into a good college, it’s simply the truth.

Without top-tier grades, it is unlikely that you will get accepted into one of the top-tier colleges.

If you struggle with keeping your head down and focusing maybe you should seek out some external help.

There are countless private tutors and specialized lessons to help you catch up with the rest of your classmates.

Be Yourself and Be Authentic

In college applications, authenticity is palpable, so make sure you stay true to yourself. There’s no point in trying to be somebody else. Colleges will want you for you, not some imaginary version of you.

Colleges want high GPAs and SAT scores, but they also want real people. People with ambitions, passions, and hobbies.

From private schools in Utah to New York and California, they all try their best to instill these qualities in their students so that they can succeed when it comes to applying for higher education.

Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through your college application.

Show That You’re Passionate

Passion can be expressed in many different ways. Colleges want someone who will be excited about attending their school. Someone who is motivated about furthering their education and determined to join clubs.

Show that you are passionate by communicating your love for sports, music, or any other hobby you have.

Certain activities can show colleges that you possess many worthwhile skills.

For example, being part of the football team shows that you are great at working in a team and communicating. Make sure to highlight these attributes in your application.

Get Your Application in Early

Dream colleges are popular for a reason, everyone wants to get in. Most of the ivy league schools have hundreds and thousands of applicants each year.

It is no secret that the world of college applications is highly competitive.

According to a study by U.S News and World Report, universities in the United States receive 100,000 applications each season. So, you can imagine how hard it can be to make an application really stand out.

Try to apply early in the hope that your college admissions officer isn’t burnt out from reading thousands of others.

Attend a Pre-College Program

A great way to prepare for both college applications, and the college itself, is by attending a summer program. This way you get a taste of what college will actually be like. You can commute from home or stay in the dorms with other students.

This gives you a great feel for what the style of teaching will be like at that school. It also gives you a chance to experience and get to know the campus you will be living on.

Lastly, attending a pre-college program can boost your chances of getting accepted into that institution.

Don’t Be Afraid to Network

Networking is an imperative skill to have if you wish to succeed in any business environment. Getting to know people from all around the world will definitely help you in one way or another.

If you’ve met someone who is highly respected in your desired field of study, you should try to keep in touch in case an opportunity to work alongside them arises.

If you manage to secure a placement with them, you can then ask for a letter of recommendation. This kind of behavior shows colleges that you are a highly motivated and passionate person.

Don’t Limit Your Scope

Limiting your definition of a ‘dream college’ will only hinder your expectations. As we have noted, the world of college applications is highly competitive so try not to limit your options when it comes to applying.

You may be completely set on a specific college but try to branch out and compile a list of several dream colleges. Every school is different and will have varying strengths.

Having a list of several colleges that suit your wants and needs will help you feel less disappointed if you do end up being rejected by any. When you are applying to various colleges you should always tailor your applications.

Find out what makes each college unique and try to relate this to your application. This will show schools that you have taken the time to research their facility and that you really are interested in attending.

Apply for Internships

It’s never too early to start getting work experience in the real world because, after all, college is preparing you for this. Internships will be extremely useful for helping you get into college, but they will also be well-regarded by future employers.

Similarly, it’s best to get through unpaid internships whilst you are still a student. This way you can gain more relevant experience and try to secure a well-paid job once you graduate.

Another plus about internships is that they can guide you towards what you want to do in life. Perhaps you have always been set on a job in PR? Interning at a PR firm will let you know for certain whether that is the right career choice for you.


All in all, there is a lot of pressure for kids to secure a spot at college.

However, college isn’t the only option out there. You can get great paying jobs by attending traineeships or simply going straight into work.

Don’t be afraid to choose a path other than college because it’s not for everyone. Success can be achieved in more ways than one!

About the author

CB Community

Passionate members of the College Basics community that include students, essay writers, consultants and beyond. Please note, while community content has passed our editorial guidelines, we do not endorse any product or service contained in these articles which may also include links for which College Basics is compensated.