Capstone College and Career Advising

8 Ways to Widen the Gap

August 21st, 2019 by

Extent That You Exceed Basic Admissions Requirements

With each college having a minimum standard for admissions, many colleges still struggle to find room for all the students who meet the minimum criteria.  As a result, they are burdened with finding candidates who not only meet the minimum criteria but far exceed it.  The wider the gap your credentials are from the minimum standards, the better your chances of being admitted to the school of your choice.  For example, there may be an influx of students whose test scores are at the minimum or above.  Since there are quite possibly more students meeting the minimum standard than there are spaces, they must reject some of those students.  How will they make those decisions?  What will be the next level of criteria?  Does the minimum now change?  The answer to all of these questions lie in the student exceeding the set standard.  The goal for the student should be how wide of a gap can I create from the minimum standard so that I can separate myself from the other candidates.  The wider the gap, the better your chances are of getting admitted and receiving scholarships.   In the end, colleges only have a minimum to provide a basis for swift rejection of students who are not a good fit for their institution.  The more difficult process of weeding out other qualified candidates is dependent on finding the best of the rest.  To justify this, colleges look to the students at the lower end of their acceptance pool as overachievers or underachievers.  They are either students who may struggle in the classroom at their college but perform beyond their ability on testing, in the classroom, etc.  or they may be students who are only pursuing the minimum.  Colleges don’t want students who pursue the minimum standard, they want students who are striving to be the best.  Therefore, they will reward those students who are well above the minimum guidelines through admissions and scholarships.  Reaching the minimum and creating a gap between the set standard and excellence takes time to achieve and most often is not attainable on your own.  That is why it is important to receive help and assistance along the way.  Follow these steps to widen your gap.

1. Get as much test prep as you can – Taking a test prep course can significantly increase your test scores moving you beyond the minimum standard and helping you become more competitive to the students who are at the top of the admissions process.

2. Work continually on boosting your GPA – Work on extra credit, study diligently, don’t settle for a passing grade or the bare minimum in your classes.  There is too much riding on your college admissions chances and scholarship opportunities.

3. Take challenging classes – Challenge yourself and be willing to receive extra tutoring or help in those classes.  Work hard, visit your teacher often and show them you want to succeed.  They will often work hard to make sure your efforts pay off.

4. Volunteer – Colleges want students who are active in the community.  Make sure you are volunteering in your community and investing in others.  They expect that from their students and won’t take a chance on a student who has not already demonstrated a servant heart.

5. Be involved in your school – Colleges want you to have a great experience on campus.  Therefore, they want you to take advantage of the activities they provide for you.  If you are active on your campus in high school then you will be active on their campus in college.

6. Look for Leadership – Colleges want to produce leaders into the world.  They look for students who demonstrate leadership in high school so they can further develop that talent in their institution. 

7. Apply Early – The earlier you apply the better your chances.  If you wait until the last minute to apply and turn in all of your documents, then the quality of your application goes down. Don’t push deadlines.

8. Get help through the application process – Invest in the services of an independent college advisor like Capstone.  They understand the application process and have done this many more times than you have (or will).  They can help move you from ordinary to extraordinary. 

By going above and beyond, you are moving farther from the bottom of the admissions pile toward the top of the admissions pile.  The closer to the top you can place yourself, the better your chances are of receiving the admissions and scholarship money you are pursuing.