What Do I Need to Get Into a Good College?

July 28, 2022
By AdmissionSight

What Do I Need to Get Into a Good College?

What do I need to get into a good college? The majority of people incorrectly believe that it is extremely difficult to gain admission to a college or university. There are educational institutions out there that will enroll anyone who has the financial means to do so. However, the majority of people don’t want to attend just any college; rather, they want to attend the college that was their first choice.

So, what are the odds of you getting accepted to the college that is at the top of your list of institutions that you would like to attend? They are a significant improvement over a 50/50 split. More than half of students are accepted to their college of first choice, according to the annual CIRP Freshman Survey conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). This is not a coincidence; many of these students apply to schools where they believe they will have a better chance of succeeding academically, as well as in the careers they hope to pursue.

One more thing that all students who are accepted to the college of their first choice have in common is that they put a significant amount of time and effort into preparing for the college admissions process while they were still in high school.

Group of students smiling at the camera.

To answer the question of “what do I need to get into a good college” the admissions officers at the colleges you’re applying to take the time to carefully consider your high school performance in terms of grades, courses, test scores, essays, activities, recommendations, and interviews (if applicable). By adhering to these twelve guidelines, you will significantly improve your chances of being accepted to the colleges of your choice:

  1. Maintain an A-average throughout all four years of your high school career, if at all possible. Grades are extremely important.
  2. Throughout your entire four years of school, you should enroll in challenging classes. You should enroll in as many rigorous classes as you are capable of managing, including college preparatory classes, Advanced Placement (AP) classes, honors classes, and International Baccalaureate classes (IB).
  3. Give the SAT or ACT test multiple times for practice. Learn the different types of content that will be covered as well as the directions for the test. During your sophomore year, you should give the PSAT a try. Find out what information and abilities you are lacking and work on improving those areas before taking the actual tests. Before or during your junior year, look into taking advantage of the free online SAT or ACT materials, study guides, practice tests, tutors, and preparation courses that are available.
  4. Consider sitting for both the SAT and the ACT. Both SAT and ACT scores will be accepted by universities. It’s possible that one of the tests will go better for you than the other. Your chances of being accepted will improve as a result of this. If you are not happy with your scores from the SAT or ACT, you should consider taking the test more than once.
  5. Participate in SAT Subject Tests and Advanced Placement Tests. It is possible that you will be required to take some of these exams, and competitive colleges do take the results of exams into consideration. The best universities will only accept AP scores of five (5) or higher.
  6. Spend sufficient time developing your college essays. Before you put pen to paper, give some thought and reflect. Write, revise, and rewrite your work. This is your chance to make a good impression on people. In your writing, convey who you are by describing characteristics such as being enthusiastic, exciting, passionate, and intellectually curious. What are some ways that you can differentiate the real “you” from the rest of the crowd? Ask your teachers and/or other members of the school staff for feedback on the essays you’ve written.
  7. During ALL FOUR YEARS of high school as well as during the summer breaks, you should get involved in your school and/or community. You need to keep track of the activities you participate in outside of school, whether they be sports, extracurricular or co-curricular activities, or volunteer work in your community. Climb the ranks to positions of leadership. Show that you have improved. Become exceptionally skilled in at least one of your areas of interest.
  8. For recommendations, speak with your guidance counselor at school as well as teachers who know you well. Refresh their memories by giving them a “personal data” or “brag sheet” at least one month before the deadlines for college recommendations. This will highlight your academic accomplishments, athletics, activities, as well as community service and leadership positions. In addition to that, please highlight anything noteworthy that occurred during the summer (for example, foreign travel to improve language skills, volunteer work, projects).
  9. If colleges require on-campus interviews, prepare yourself to participate in those. You should reread your essays and any other information that you have obtained regarding individual colleges. Maintain a positive attitude and speak clearly. Dress in a businesslike manner rather than in a casual one. Send thank you notes or emails to the interviewers after the event, expressing that you are still interested in working for their organization.
  10. To reduce the amount of stress you are under, what do I need to get into a good college by beginning my college search as early as possible and no later than the beginning of my junior year. You will have enough time to complete tasks such as researching colleges, filling out applications, writing essays, and taking any required tests.
  11. Get organized and keep your mind on the task at hand. Create a folder for each college that piques your interest and place pertinent information inside of each of those folders (for example, a copy of your application and essay, any materials downloaded from the Internet). Maintain your attention on your end goal, which is to be accepted into the college of your choice.
  12. Consult your teachers and the guidance counselor at your school for ongoing support. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask them questions, regardless of how basic your inquiries might appear to be.

What Do I Need to Score on the SAT to Get Into a Good College?

What do I need to score on the SAT to get into a good college or reputable institution? The answer to the question of what constitutes a satisfactory score on the SAT for use in the application process for colleges is dependent on the aspirations of the student.

The College Board is in charge of administering the SAT, which is a standardized admissions test that is required by many colleges and universities. Students’ scores on the SAT range from 200 to 800 on a scale that varies depending on the section. Students have evaluated on their evidence-based reading and writing skills as well as their mathematical knowledge via two separate tests, each of which can yield a maximum score of 800 points. There is no requirement to submit an essay.

Young woman answering a test in a desk.

Because there is such a wide range of possible scores – the lowest combined score that a person can receive is 400, and the highest that they can receive is 1600 – admissions experts encourage prospective students to understand what colleges consider to be a good SAT score.

Even though it is a standardized test, the SAT changes slightly from one administration to the next. That indicates that your score is dependent not only on how well you prepared but also on how lucky you were. On the examination, the primary types of questions are multiple-choice and essay questions. Time management and the ability to write are prerequisites for both, but critical thinking is only required for the essay.

How Important are Scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) for College Admission in 2022?

Once you graduate high school, you will ask yourself “What do I need to get into a good college?”. Even though it’s generally true that no one will care about your SAT score once you graduate from college, admissions officers will certainly be looking at it before they let you in.

At any rate, that is what admissions officers believe.

Even though your SAT score is only one component of your college application, it plays a significant role because it enables admissions officers to quickly and objectively compare you to the other applicants, who number in the tens of thousands on average.

Female student answering a test while smiling.

In addition, as the majority of educational institutions now post the average SAT score of their admitted students on their respective websites, having a student body that has a high SAT average reflects positively on the admissions standards of the institution.

What Kind of SAT Score Is Considered to Be Good?

According to information that was presented in the College Board’s 2020 SAT Annual Report, the average SAT composite score for the 2.2 million high school graduates of 2020 who took the exam was 1051. The average score for “Reading & Writing” was 528, and the average score for “Mathematics” was 523.

When you know what the average score on the SAT is, you can deduce that any score that is higher than 1051 is considered an above-average score, whereas any score that is lower than 1051 is considered a below-average score. It’s not too difficult, is it?

Not quite. There are two aspects of the SAT that can help determine whether or not a student has achieved a satisfactory level of performance:

  • SAT Score Percentile
  • The Typical Score on the SAT at a University

An Explanation of the SAT Percentile Score

The percentile that your score falls into indicates how well you did on the test in comparison to everyone else who took the test on the same day. For instance, if you have a score that places you in the 15th percentile, it indicates that you performed better on the test than 15 percent of the other students who had taken it on that particular day. If you have a score that places you in the 90th percentile, it indicates that you performed better than 90 percent of the student body.

Young man staring the his laptop while thinking about something.

If you scored in the 15th percentile, it means that you performed significantly worse than the average student; in fact, 85 percent of students performed better than you did. Anything that falls below the 50th percentile is regarded as “poor,” anything that falls between the 50th and 70th percentiles is regarded as “good,” and anything that falls above the 90th percentile is regarded as “outstanding.”

The Average Score on the SAT at Each University

Even though it is a less objective way to determine whether or not you have a good score on the SAT, knowing whether or not it aligns with the standards of the universities to which you are applying is the best way to define whether or not you have a good score.

The range of SAT scores that you should strive to achieve is contingent upon the educational institution that you plan to attend. The average SAT score required for admission to a selective college, such as Stanford University or Princeton University, is significantly higher than that required by schools with lower rankings.

Scores between 1500 and 1550 are considered to be competitive for the Ivy League. Above 1400 is the requirement for admission to other highly selective schools. If your GPA is at or above 1300, you will be considered a competitive applicant by the vast majority of other public and private universities.

Tips to help you improve your score on the SAT

You probably have some questions about how to reach your goal SAT score now that you have a general idea of what score you should shoot for.

1. Dedicate more time to studying, and take the test again.

You are permitted to take the SAT as many times as you like, but you should try to limit yourself to no more than three attempts; anything beyond that won’t look very good on your application.

However, there is no guarantee that your score will improve if you merely retake the test over and over again. In order to make a change that sticks, you’re going to need to work on your study habits, devise a solid strategy for SAT preparation, and maybe even consider working with a private instructor.

2. Conduct a Critical Analysis of Your College List

If you retake the SAT after planning, studying, and even getting private tutoring, but you still don’t get anywhere close to the score you’ll need to compete at the schools on your college list, this is a strong indication that the schools on your college list are probably not the ones that would be the best fit for you.

Universities that are extremely competitive will accept applicants who have SAT scores that are very close to perfect because these applicants have shown that they are willing to engage in academic work that is extremely difficult and demanding.

If the average SAT score at the school of your dreams is well beyond your reach, the school’s coursework may also be too challenging and demanding for you to get the most out of your education there. However, this is not the case for every student. And that’s perfectly fine! Your time spent in the classroom will only constitute a small portion of the entirety that is your college experience.

3. Keep a Positive Attitude and Stay on the Right Path

On the other hand, if you don’t quite get the score that you need to get into the university of your dreams, don’t let that get you down. You can make up for a lower SAT score by having incredible grades, writing fantastic essays, and getting involved in unique extracurricular activities, provided that the difference is not too great. Because the application process in the United States is holistic, admissions officers consider all aspects of an applicant’s profile when making decisions. This means that they are more likely to overlook poor test scores if other aspects of the application are strong.

What GPA do I Need to Get Into a Good College?

The question, “What GPA do I need to get into a good college?” will be at the forefront of the minds of the vast majority of high school students together with the question “What do I need to get into a good college?”, who are considering furthering their education. The solution to this conundrum does not come in the form of a straightforward numerical value. It’s more along the lines of… well, that all depends.

Female student typing in her laptop.

The grade point average across the country is 3.0. Therefore, if your grade point average is higher than a B average, there is a possibility that some universities will accept your application. But a student’s grade point average isn’t the only thing that admissions officers look at when making decisions. In point of fact, each educational institution has its own particular prerequisites for entry.

This might involve looking into the different kinds of classes that you’ve already completed. And the degree of difficulty presented by each of those classes. It is also possible for it to include the extracurricular activities that you participated in. In addition, they look at whether or not you’ve held any leadership positions in the past.

Scores obtained on standardized tests are yet another common admissions requirement that, in general, are evaluated differently by each institution. You are however able to learn about the difficulty of the application process for colleges. Checking the college’s acceptance rate is the most effective method for doing so. Additionally, you are able to forecast whether or not your application will be approved. You can get a good idea of your chances of being accepted to a college by looking at the institution’s acceptance rate.

Colleges that have a low percentage of applicants accepted

The majority of the applications submitted each year are rejected by colleges that have low acceptance rates because they only accept a small percentage of those who apply.

There are many possible explanations for why schools have low acceptance rates. For instance, in order for students to be accepted into certain colleges, they need to meet the requirements for financial aid. The tuition at these schools is frequently waived.

As a consequence of this, they are only able to admit a limited number of students during each academic year. For others, acceptance is contingent on the student’s meeting particular requirements. An illustration of this would be military academies. Some music conservatories, such as Juilliard, will only accept students who can demonstrate an advanced level of musical proficiency.

The requirement of meeting exceptionally high academic standards is the primary factor that contributes to a college’s low acceptance rate. The best illustration of this can be found in Ivy League colleges. Students who want to attend a school with a low acceptance rate typically need to have a GPA of 3.81.

Schools with a High Acceptance Rate

Colleges that have acceptance rates that are relatively high accept a larger percentage of the applications that are sent to them each year. There are even some schools that have open admissions policies. This indicates that the only requirement for admission is a high school diploma or, in some cases, a General Equivalency Diploma (GED).

Male student looking intently at his laptop.

Additionally, admission is typically granted on a rolling basis throughout the course of the year. Therefore, the application submission deadlines aren’t as stringent as they are at schools with a low acceptance rate. Students who were accepted into these colleges had, on average, a 3.25-grade point average in high school.

How to Evaluate Your Current Grade Point Average?

You need to be aware of your current grade point average in addition to the admissions requirements of the schools that you are interested in attending. You can use this information to determine whether or not you are on the right path to achieve your objectives. When determining whether or not your grade point average is where it should be, there are a number of factors to take into consideration.

First things first: find out what kind of grade point average (GPA) your school gives you. The majority of high schools use weighted grade point averages. These take into account the degree of the challenge presented by the classes you’ve already completed. For instance, more weight is given to honors or advanced placement courses than regular classes. Therefore, this assists students in achieving a grade point average of 4.5 or even 5.0. GPAs with weighting.

Male student holding her bag in front of the entrance of a building.

Give more credit to the students who have taken on more challenging work than the classes that have maintained the status quo. However, unweighted GPAs evaluate each class in the same manner, regardless of how challenging the subject matter may be. In this instance, a GPA of 4.0 is the highest possible grade point average.

It is important to keep in mind that the average GPAs presented above are for unweighted GPAs. Be sure to convert your grade point average if your high school uses a weighted system to calculate grades. This will help you gain a better understanding of where you stand in relation to the admissions requirements. Next, you need to have a clear understanding of what your goals are and the steps involved in achieving those goals.

A high GPA on its own will not be sufficient if, for example, you have your sights set on attending one of the universities in the Ivy League. Make sure that your schedule includes not only lower-level classes but also more advanced ones. This will demonstrate to the schools that you are applying to that you are willing to push yourself beyond your comfort zone.

if the admission rate is low, particularly if it is below 20 percent. This is a sign that you’ll need to challenge yourself academically by enrolling in more difficult classes if you want to be a strong candidate. Spend some time researching the prerequisites needed to enroll at the schools that you are interested in attending. What is the typical grade point average of students who are accepted? What are some of the other criteria that must be met before an application can be considered?

Finally, once you have an understanding of the current state of your grade point average and where it needs to be, you can move on to the next step. After that, you ought to devise a plan of action.

How to Make a Game Plan for Your Grade Point Average?

If your grade point average is already at the level it should be, that’s fantastic! But keep in mind that the amount of effort you’ve already put in up to this point is not the time to start slacking off. Instead, you should stick with the plan and continue to keep your attention on your classes.

Make it a priority to ensure that you continue to set aside time for your studies. Additionally, make the most of any opportunities for additional credit that may arise. Also, make sure that your classwork is completed on time because falling behind is one of the simplest ways for your grade point average to start falling.

Young looking towards an area of a room while holding his bag.

In the event that your grade point average is lower than it should be. It is time to put in double the effort and get started putting in the necessary work to get it there or as close as it can get to being there. Investigate the cause of the drop in your grade point average if you’ve noticed it recently.

If you find that you are taking too many difficult courses, you should consider switching some of those courses. Strive to strike a healthy balance between courses that are difficult and courses that are easier. That will make it easier for you to keep on top of the workload.

If the amount of work you have to do already seems manageable. If this is the case, it is probably time to put more effort into developing better study habits. This entails setting aside a specific time each day to study and removing all potential sources of distraction during that time.

Be sure to not only attend the class but also participate actively in the activities that are being conducted there. This entails participating in classroom discussions and giving responses to questions posed by instructors. In addition, you should make it a routine to take detailed notes all the way through each lecture.

And finally, make sure you ask for assistance. Never undervalue the assistance that a professor or private tutor can provide in getting you to the place where you need to be.

Looking for help with the college admissions process? We help students and families through the entire college planning journey from search, and essays to interview prep, financial aid consultation, and final school selection.  At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process.

AdmissionSight will assist you throughout the entirety of the college admissions process in order to increase your chances of gaining entry into your dream school.

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