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Service Journalism: How to get admitted to a UC or Ivy League

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“Congratulations! You have been admitted to…”

We yearn for these simple words. Merely seeing the first word is enough to have us break down in tears. And there is no doubt that many were shed this year as Morse seniors were admitted to some of the most amazing schools in the country.

To battle the dreaded rejection letter and to join the likes of University of California (UC), Berkeley admittees, here are some tips to get you college bound.
Warning: This is simple in theory and difficult in execution.

Strong academics is mandatory.

Everyone applying to UC and Ivy League schools have impeccable grades. To even considering applying, admission officers have to see that you’ve worked hard and pushed yourself to take difficult classes. If they see that you can’t take the workload of high school classes, then what makes you think they’ll admit you into a highly intellectual college class?

However, it’s important to note that impeccable does not mean perfect. Remember, a couple of B’s is not the end of the world. Simply attending and putting in significant effort in a difficult class will reflect positively in your application.

Stats on Stats.

You’re SAT and ACT scores have a significant weight to them. Do not follow the crowd and not study. Use Khan Academy or buy a test prep book to prepare yourself for the test. You’ll be happier in the long run.

An important factor in applying to private schools are the SAT Subject Tests. For some, it’s mandatory and for others, it’s “recommended”, which is a roundabout way of saying its mandatory. There are SAT Subject Tests for history, literature, math, and science. Research the recommended tests of each school and take them when the information is still fresh. A junior taking Chemistry should take the Chemistry Subject Test and a senior in Calculus should take the Math 2 Subject Test. These tests will further strengthen your academics.

Focus on what you love. Don’t know what it is? Find it.

At the end of the day, almost everyone will have the same statistics and grades. You have to do something that will set you apart.

A long term interest and participation in a subject you enjoy will separate you from everyone else more than a high test score in the Math 1 Subject Test (even though it would surely help).

If you’re interested in computer science, take a coding class in the summer. Afterwards, intern at an organization that teaches children how to code. If you want to take it a step further, create a coding club at your school.

Colleges want to see passion, not perfection. A student driven enough to learn more about what they love in their free time is a student that will thrive in college.

And if you’re completely clueless, explore by taking classes that seem interesting to you, whether it be over the summer or in your normal schedule. You can also participate in various summer programs that will let you know what you like and what you don’t like.

Be a leader.

A student who is a leader of one or two successful and thriving clubs is a much stronger applicant than a student who is a participant of six clubs. Quality over quantity is an important attribute admission officers look for.

Grow up.

All of the tips above are long term, however, upon reaching senior year, there are many obstacles you have to face in order to hand in the application.

On top of applications is the workload equivalent to junior year. There is no one babysitting you to write your applications. Teachers don’t take into account the fact that you have to pour your soul into four 350-word essays. You have to make your own time.

Applications are not assigned. When senioritis hits, and it will hit, even doing assigned homework is difficult.

No one else can do your application for you and you can’t go about it like you have gone through high school. You can’t copy someone else or procrastinate until the last minute. Be an adult and own up to the task. After that, it’s all on you.

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