• Rachel Hartley

4 Steps High School Students Can Do Now Before Applying to University

American Universities are unique when it comes to making admissions decisions. Admissions teams aren’t just looking at your academic success in high school, they are also looking at your personality, potential for development, and ability to overcome adversity. Why? Because they understand that you are more than just marks on a report, and they believe quality students come from a variety of strengths and backgrounds. This should be good news as it means you have plenty of areas to shine in your application, such as your C.V. and personal essays. However, knowing what to include is key to ensuring that you are putting your best version forward in the application.

So, what are some things that you can do now as a high school student to increase your admissibility to university in the U.S.? We know it can seem too early (or even too late) to sign up for extracurriculars or take an extra class, but don’t fear! We’re here to help you with some action steps you can take right now.

Increase your English language skills

If you want to study in the U.S., you’ll need to be proficient in English - not only in day-to-day conversations but also in the classes for your degree. Take English every year in high school. Find a language partner or group to practice speaking in a fun environment. Download apps like Duolingo, Hello English, FluentU, or Mind Snacks. Pro tip: Practicing with these apps will also help you succeed when taking university entrance exams like the ACT or IELTS. Check out our blog post on the exams you might need to take!

Become a leader

Any leadership experience you gain during high school will help you when applying to university. Does your school have clubs or organizations you can join? Don’t join every single one - pick one or two you are really passionate about and try to fill a leadership position. No open positions? Volunteer to lead an event or project.

Speaking of volunteering...Are there any organizations in your community in need of volunteers? If you’re interested in a career in science and medicine, you could volunteer for a blood drive. Virtual volunteer opportunities are popping up too! Tutoring, pandemic support, social media, and translating are just a few ideas for remote or digital volunteer positions. Pro tip: develop a strong relationship with your club or volunteer supervisor so that you can ask them to write you a recommendation letter.

Daydream about your future

This sounds cheesy, but stay with us. Most college applications will require a personal statement essay. Now is the time to think about why you want to go to university, what past experiences brought to you where you are today, what career you want to work in, and what gets your heart beating with excitement.

Start researching career fields and know your options. Reflect on your high school courses - which class do you look forward to every day? Which class makes you cringe when you remember you have homework due? Does writing an essay make your palms sweat even though your math homework was a breeze? Maybe a STEM major is in your future!

Talk with an Agave Education advisor now

Most importantly, university admissions teams want to get a true sense of who you are when going through your application information. It’s never too early to talk with one of our advisors about how to prepare for applying to university in the U.S. We know the application requirements, essay prompts, exam scores you need, and more! We also know what it’s like to be overwhelmed with everything you need to do while in high school just to prepare for university. Connect with us now!

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