23 Jun, 2021 11:50 AM

Can anyone give advice on getting into good colleges?

I am 15 years old, currently in my first year of high school and seriously thinking about how to get into a good college. I get only straight A's, play varsity level soccer, and juggle different extra curricular activities, like speech and debate. My mom was south korean and my dad is like english, I live in a small town in Colorado and go to a pretty small high school. I'm trying really hard to make the right decisions for my future so I could use some advice on what classes to take and extra things I can do to get into a great college, like Harvard.

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JA
23 Jun, 2021 11:51 AM

Well Harvard and similar schools are a reach for anyone, and IMHO not necessarily the best choice. Great schools of course, and they do provide excellent financial aid (those stories you hear about only the rich can go is rubbish - if you earn under 60K you generally pay nothing at such schools); but IMHO these days other schools would be a smarter choice.

Why is that? Well first understand every Tom, Dick and Harry has a bachelors these days - its like HS was 20 years ago. The action these days is in graduate school. You should look on undergrad as preparation for graduate school, just like you look on HS as a preparation for college. IMHO the college you choose should be one that sends a lot of students to graduate school. The two best I know of are Harvey Mudd and New College Florida (they send about 2/3's off to graduate school):
http://www.hmc.edu/
http://www.ncf.edu/

For undergrad they would be my two top choices, above even schools like Harvard, MIT and Caltech.

What you should be doing now is picking about 10 colleges that interest you, and starting a dialogue with them about what you need to do to get in. To start you out on picking those 10 schools check out:
http://www.ctcl.org/
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/30/educat…

Once you have 10 schools you like go to their web sites and learn all you can about them, especially their admission requirements. Formulate a plan to meet those requirements. Then, last but not least, drop the schools a line to ensure you are on the tight track. Don't be shy. Colleges love to hear from prospective students. Review the list sophomore and junior year, then apply senior year knowing, due to your preparation, you have the inside running.