1. Take the SAT 3 times.
Take the SAT for the first time as a sophomore in May or June. See how you do when the scores come in, and focus improving the area/s that you scored the lowest on. Juniors will take the PSAT in October. This does not count as an SAT score. Take the SAT again in January or May and then for the third time in the beginning of your senior year.
2. Take the ACT multiple times as well.
The ACT tests students in the areas of English, Math, Reading, Science, and there is an optional writing section. Thus, students that prefer math/science typically score higher on the ACT than they would compared to their peers on the SAT. Take the ACT early in your junior year and see if your scores qualify for the schools to which you will be applying. Take the ACT again if you need to improve your scores.
3. Apply to at least 3 reach schools, 3 match schools, and 2 safety schools.
Of course you'll have a better chance of getting in to college the more that you apply to, but you need to weigh the time and cost of the application process. It's more important for high school students to put time and effort into submitting fewer great applications and visiting their top schools than it is to send off 15 or 20 half-hearted applications and fail to visit the schools they are seriously considering.
4. Get involved with a few meaningful extracurricular activities.
Whether it's sports, community service, music, clubs, student government, or something else, pick the extracurricular activities that are most important to you and stick with those throughout high school. Admissions officers place more emphasis on depth than breadth when it comes to activities outside of the classroom.
5. Take AP classes.
Not only will AP classes impress college admissions officers, but they can also count for credits and save on tuition costs if you score well on them.
6. Take SAT Subject Tests if you plan on getting in to a top college/university.
Here is a complete list of all colleges that require, recommend, and consider SAT II Subject tests.
7. Take 4 years of Math.
Although some schools only require three years of math, admissions officers typically value math as the most important subject. Taking calculus can be a make or break for getting in to top tier schools.
Have any questions about getting in to college? Please ask them below.