While there is no secret to being admitted and no one can guarantee you will be admitted to a specific institution, there are ways to better your chance of being admitted:
Good grades. Push yourself to get the best grades you can get.
Advanced classes. Push yourself to take academically challenging classes. If your school offers AP, IB, or honors courses, take those classes if you are up for the challenge. In addition, take more than the required classes. For example, if your school only requires three years of math, push yourself and take a fourth year.
Participate in meaningful activities. Don’t sign up for every club and organization your school offers. Instead, find activities you enjoy and really dive in and get more involved than just attending meetings.
Show your passion for the college. Sign up for the mailing list, visit campus, and talk to your admissions counselor. In addition, if possible, show your passion for the institution in an essay if you are asked to submit an essay on why you want to attend the institution.
Make a connection with your admissions counselor. Talk to your admissions counselor and ask your questions. This can show you are very interested in the college, as well as letting the admissions counselor get to know you. Build a relationship with your admissions counselor. Later on when the admissions committee is making their decision, this connection could come into play. The admissions counselor may “go to bat for you” if you made a positive impression on them.
Stand out from the crowd. There may be hundreds of students who are applying with identical grades and test scores. This is why it is important to do things that make you stand out. Make sure your admissions essay is meaningful and unique. Share your activities in a way that ensure the committee sees your passion and interest.
Be authentic. After reading hundreds of applications and essays, many admissions decision makers can spot students who are being insincere. Be yourself throughout the application and essay.
When applying to colleges with low acceptance rates, there is no guarantee you will be admitted. If you are not admitted to one of these colleges, it doesn’t mean you are not qualified. Keep your head high and know that you will find and be admitted to a different school that may be a better fit for you.