7) Try to fill a niche the school may need
If you have a unique interest that is very specific and not well-known, pursue those interests. Look for ways to stand out. E.g. it is better to show your interest in specific patterns in theoretical physics like dark matter and pursue research in that area than to say you would like to be a physics major in college. This holds true also for sports. There are a lot fewer goal keepers and pitchers applying for spots than other team members.
6) Show improvement and be consistent
You are more likely to be accepted to an IV league if you have improving grades over the 4 years of high school than if you had excellent grades in the 9th grade which declined after that. Try to start your extracurricular work in the 9th grade and stick with the same ones through high school. 4 years of consistent community service with the same organization looks better to admission officers than a 2-week travel internship during the summer of 11th grade.
5) Develop a respectable voice in class
You will be getting letters of recommendation from your high school instructors. One of the things admission officers look for are signs that a student actively engages in class discussions. A student who actively contributes to class is viewed more highly than a quiet student who is diligent and gets good grades. If public speaking is a challenge, enroll in public speaking classes, acting classes or join the debate club. Verbally expressing yourself in a thoughtful manner is a critical life skill not just for IV league school admissions but for life in general.
4) Standout on standardized tests and grades
Prepare for standardized tests early and send the highest score possible. See the topic “Top 7 ways to prepare your elementary school student for IV league colleges” for ways to start early on getting better standardized test scores. That said, don’t forget to excel on grades as well. A student with excellent standardized test scores and suboptimal grades may be viewed as smart but not diligent and are routinely turned down for admissions.
3) Take the hardest course load available at your high school
This shows you love learning and are constantly seeking new ways to challenge yourself. Admission officers are looking for students who enjoy challenging themselves than doing the bare minimum. If your high school offers Advanced Placement (AP) classes, take as many as you can and take the associated AP test right after the class. Enroll in International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available at your high school. Colleges want to see that you can handle an increasingly challenging course load with each advancing year.
2) Demonstrate leadership
If you are on a sports team, seek to be the varsity team leader. If you play an instrument, seek to lead the band. If you start an extracurricular activity you are passionate about in 9th grade and stick with it, by your senior high school years you will naturally be in a leadership role in that area. Start a new club in your high school on something you’re passionate about. Show you’re a self-starter and you follow things through.
1) Seek out your passion and follow it
If you have a passion for medicine, seek out volunteer opportunities at hospitals. Ask to work on special projects there. Find out which specific part of medicine you are interested in and look for research opportunities in that area. Look for opportunities to publish this research or present a poster at annual meetings. These efforts and letters from mentors that support you speak louder than just words.
Have tips that work for you? Do share below!