College 101: How to Get In

Oh so you’re applying to college? Well, here’s some tips and tricks on how to get in!


College is most teenagers’ dream. They are far from home—left on their own—away from mom or dad nagging chronically about grades or chores.  

College is not only a teen’s dream but also the gateway to a successful career. College teaches young adults to be independent; it gives young people a foot in the door of reality. 

There is only one challenge: getting in.  

Central Bucks South Senior, Remi Mitnick, describes her college application process as “manageable”.  

“It was less stressful because I did everything over the summer”, says Mitnick.  

Applying to colleges may take months. Colleges, because you should always apply to more than one.  

Some of the biggest resources for the college application process are college representatives. During a college panel at Central Bucks High School South on Thursday February 28,  six present representatives resonated with a common theme: contact us. 

Every college representative including Penn State University, Temple University, Ursinus College, Drexel University, West Chester University, and University of Alabama—echoed each other in agreement.  

The admissions representative from Ursinus gave advice to “call our offices”.  

The Ursinus Admissions representative continued on, “Do your research about visitation programs”.  She also added that admissions representatives are always there to help, after all it is their job.  

Visiting colleges is one of the more adaptable steps to the college application process. If a college is close by, take a weekend trip. If the college is not, wait until you get in and visit afterwards.  

 Ernest Ntiamoah, Penn State admissions representative, noted that “seasons matter” when visiting colleges. He said on a rainy day you will not experience the culture of the college or what it is really like every day. 

Admissions representative from the University of Alabama Pamela Brutto agreed with Ntiamoah and said, “You have to get on the campus yourself”. Brutto emphasized that visiting colleges is “most helpful” when it comes to making a final decision on where to applyand later attend.  

Guidance counselor for the Class of 2020 at CB South, Mr. Thomas Hill, advises to seniors and juniors to “take a consumer approach” when visiting colleges.  

Sarah Smith of West Chester admissions recommended that on visits to different campuses, you should “stop a student” or teacher on campus for a quick chat regarding the institution.  

She also said, “They would be happy to tell you their favorite things [about the university]” 

The most important overall theme of advice of the college panel was to use your resources—research colleges, visit and talk to people on the campus. By taking these steps, you can get closer to being accepted into a college that will meet your needs. 

High school is a major part of getting into college. Colleges will be looking at your freshman, sophomore, and junior years. They will assess your progress and grades.  

Whereas most senior students stress over standardized tests, Mr. Hill debunks this misconception saying that grades hold more weight; Mr. Hill believes students should not have as much “anxiety over standardized tests” as they do currently.  

SATs, ACTs and other standardized tests are not end all be all”, said Mr. Hill.  

One of the most important years of high school is senior year. Sure, junior year grades get you into college, but senior year prepares you for college. 

Most students lighten their loads for their senior year, says Mr. Hill. What these students do not realize is that they are not going to be prepared for college in the end. Think about it, if your senior year consists of all electives and easy required classes, then you aren’t challenging yourself or really using your brain.  

Senior year is not the opportunity to goof off 

Drexel representative Donna Maier gives insight on what her institution will be looking at. “You cannot slack off”, says Maier.  

“We want that final transcript, we want you to “keep [your] muscle memory working” Maier added 

Mr. Hill said that senior year is “extremely” important. He also said that students should want to “end well” in high school. He recommends that students “challenge” themselves in their senior year.   

Colleges are looking for students who want to learn. They want well rounded students who will do their work, manage their time, go to class prepared.  

Smith advises that students “make themselves the most competitive”.  

The other representatives agreed in unison that they want the most competitive students. 

Think about it in a technological sense as well. College is more common than ever, easier to access than ever, and therefore more competitive than ever before.  

Being competitive is not a new concept; before technology was involved, students would still submit themselves to the same judgments. They still turned in their essays, sent their transcripts and did everything fancy apps do now.  

You can apply to college with an app. Multiple apps in fact.  A simple press of your finger on a screen and you’ve made one of the biggest decisions of your life.  

However, being competitive is at a high for colleges. It is easier than ever to apply, and colleges want the best and brightest. If you take your senior year off, you might as well just not go to college. If admissions narrow down to you and another candidate, everything matters—they want to see who will do the best at their institution.  

Colleges also want to see what makes you, you. They are trying to add positivity to their school culture and admit students who they believe will do best in their schools.  

The last advice for getting into college is to be yourself. Show your character and talk about your passions—this should showcase in your essay (even if it is not required). Always do the essay.