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Students should take as many Honors and AP classes as possible. The risk/reward ratio comes into play here. Colleges are looking for students who take risks and challenge themselves academically and otherwise. The bonus for earning an ‘A’ or ‘B’ or even a ‘C’ is that it adds extra points to GPA and gives student that all-important edge in admissions.
Receiving an ‘A’ in a non-honors class is not as impressive as earning a ‘B’ in an Honors or AP class. It demonstrates that student took a risk and therefore a greater accomplishment is perceived. Admissions officers are as impressed by challenge taken as they are with result.
I’m certainly not suggesting that any student become stressed out by taking classes they are not capable of doing well in, or working beyond reasonable limits. However, for families with an exceptionally bright child, it is highly recommended that they take as many advanced courses as they can comfortably handle. An outstanding academic record has always been and is still greatest bargaining chip.
Students should also pursue extracurricular activities such as clubbing, not to be confused with staying out all night partying. Membership in Debate Club, Student Council, Key Club and like is one of absolute necessities to becoming a well-rounded, acceptable student. Even more beneficial, student should hold office or take on a leadership role in as many of these clubs as possible. Leadership demonstrates taking a risk and assuming responsibility.
Even students who are super athletes need some diversity, as sports alone is not enough. Students need to avoid impression that they are one-dimensional, and do whatever is necessary to portray themselves as multi-faceted.
Early on, students must also begin to accumulate community service or volunteer hours. However, don’t confuse extracurricular activities with volunteer work. I define extracurricular activities as in-school participation. Community service takes place outside of school, i.e. scouting, working for one’s house of worship, working with AIDS and/or Alzheimer’s patients, seniors, hospice, involvement with handicapped, and environmental work such as cleaning up beaches or highways.
By participating in volunteer work with financially, emotionally and/or intellectually challenged people, students demonstrate their compassion and empathy for others, and this will make them shine with admissions officers. Working with those who are less fortunate also gives student a much broader idea of how life is outside their own environment.
Every college-bound student needs an edge in admissions process whether they apply to Harvard or their local state college. Competition is fierce, and painful truth is - no one really cares about any student’s education except student and their family. It would be ill-advised and unrealistic to expect any favors or kindly ‘ole educators to bend over backwards to ensure success of any student. Academic achievement is rarely an accident, and creating acceptable student is sole responsibility of student and their family.
This is one of a series of articles by college admissions and financial aid expert, Reecy Aresty, based on his book, “Getting Into College And Paying For It!” For further information or to contact him, please visit www.thecollegebook.com.
For almost three decades, financial advisor Reecy Aresty has helped thousands of families protect their assets, increase their wealth, and reduce their taxes. His book, “Getting Into College And Paying For It,” reveals what colleges don’t want their applicants to know! Filled with trade secrets and insider information, it is guaranteed to give students the all-important edge in admissions, and parents countless legal ways to reduce the cost.