Why do students avoid getting into the school that they’ve dreamed of? Simple: they often avoid planning as far ahead in advance as they possibly can. That becomes the real problem — instead of actually getting somewhere, they wait till the last minute. Then the options are much less, and they have to end up running to the first school that will accept them.
Contrast this experience with that of the student that at plans far enough ahead to be able to tour as many schools as possible. Even if you’re not an upcoming senior or junior, you need to start looking at colleges. Especially if you know that you’re going to be trying to get into a very competitive school. If you try to wait till senior year you might not be able to apply on time. That’s really not the best way to go about things.
You want to also take the time to make sure that you’re prepared. You want to not only be looking at what the school can do for you, but what you can do for the school. Talk about your past accomplishments and what you actually want to do while you’re at the school. Networking opportunities tend to abound at the school but if you don’t pay attention to them you will get left behind. Who wants to put themselves through that?
Make sure that if you are torn between two schools that you really do your homework on both of them. See what they’re willing to offer you if your grades and background are competitive. Having volunteer service on your resume can really help you make the differences count.
Are you really willing to turn down a school in order to pursue a better offer? Be careful how you go about this, as you can burn bridges where you least expect it. The education world really isn’t as small as you think it is.
If you have your heart set on studying abroad, you really want to give the culture a chance as well. Don’t go off to a European university expecting everything to be just like it was when you were home. It will not be the case, and you will just end up getting frustrated. However, if you’re open to new opportunities and chances to build a truly global network you’ll find that studying abroad is one of the best things that you can honestly do for yourself!