Archive for the ‘College’ Category

Getting into a great college with mediocre grades …

December 12, 2006

This post is for those who want to get into a better college than they are statistically qualified for. And I’m doing it because it is my only way of giving back to society besides paying taxes. Moreover, I pride myself on getting work done with minimal effort.

Before I go off, I like to brag a little about myself. I was a so-so student back in high school that took some honors and AP classes and got mediocre grades in them; I also had mediocre grades on the SATs. But I was “luckily” got accepted to all the colleges that I applied for (the top UCs in California).

So, what is the secret?

Well, there isn’t really a secret. Below is a list of things that the more you do, the higher chance you’ll get accepted. The listing order doesn’t determine its importance.

1. Join sports. Even if you’re bad at them, just join so applications know that you were involved. You do not have to be good. All you have to do in join a team and practice. You do not need to play. Colleges do not know if you’re a starter or just a practice player. You just want to legally put “tennis,” “track,” “basketball,” whatever.

2. Join one or two club, not thousands of them. Joining a lot of clubs just show that you like to follow what everyone does. Join one club and become an officer in it. The higher the rankings, the better. It doesn’t matter if the club is “Key Club,” “Honor Society,” “CSF,” “Chess Club,” “Basketball Club,” “Comic Club,” “Volunteer Club.” It doesn’t matter what club; as long as you can put the word president or vice president next to your name. It’s even better if you’re a founder of that club. Then you can put founder and president. Don’t that sound more important than “secretary” of “Key Club” or “Honor Society?”

3. Apply early. Way before the deadline so college will have more spots to offer. But likelihood is that you won’t. Because if you are the type to apply early, you wouldn’t be reading on how to get into college with mediocre grades.

4. Join band. College love bands.

5. Go to church (or join any youth group such as boy scout). Then you can list the many things you “help out.” Teaching little kids. Bake sale. Car washing event. Remember, it’s important that you are the “founder” of these events. I’m not advocating you to exaggerate your effort and work but I just want to remind you that there is no lying detector for college applications.

6. Don’t lie. Do make it sound important; like really really important. Colleges love energy.

7. Get a job. Yes, this is important because it shows colleges that you work for your money and indirectly explains why you got your mediocre grades and test scores. It also shows independence.

8. Sign up for as many AP and honors classes as you can possibly can for your senior year. No, you do not need to get good grades in them. This is to show colleges that you are still hungry for knowledge despite the fact that they won’t see your grades when you submit your college applications. I understand that they will require you to do well (3.0 average for top colleges), but that will be a piece of cake if you ask your teachers to help you out. No teacher wants to be the person that prevents you from attending a top-notch college. Trust me on this one.

9. Sign up for GE classes (I recommend the English classes and psychology) at your local community college. This has to advantages. You won’t have to do it again in college and thus will have more time to have fun while graduating in time. Colleges love it when they see high school taking college classes because it shows you want to be intellectually stimulated. It doesn’t really matter that these community college classes are easier than your AP and honor classes. And believe me, they are.

10. Have a talent. Like play an instrument (most asians do this). Or better yet, “founder” of a band. No, your band doesn’t have to be famous or even profitable. We’re not applying for sponsorships here. We’re trying to look good on a college application.

11. Lastly, it’s ok to declare as an “undecided” major. Actually, it’s more to your advantage since your criteria to get accepted are less harsh than say, pre-med, business, or engineering.