Q: How can I be the best candidate for a college?
A: Be consistent. Consistency is a key factor in being a strong candidate. Think of the stock market and investments. You want the graph of development depicting your high school years to show consistency and rising progress, especially in the area of academic achievement.
Admissions directors expect a slight transitional shift coming from the eighth grade to ninth grade, but by the end of ninth grade, your progress should begin to stabilize and rise. Your sophomore year should continue the upward swing, and the classes you take should reflect how you are challenging yourself academically. Your junior year is the most important, as it is the final year before the application process begins.
Take challenging courses. College admissions want to see on your application that you have not taken the “easy” way out. They respect and hold highly the fact that you have taken more than the required years in subjects required to graduate.
Build relationships with your instructors. All colleges want to personalize the process. Having recommendations from your instructors that highlight your personality, work ethic and intellectual curiosity will greatly boost your application in the application process.
Be a real person. Show that you have a story outside the classroom. It should tell them about you the person, your thoughts, challenges and aspirations.
Antonio Aponte is the director of Educational Services at the Boys’ Club of New York (bcny.org) and founder of the Latino College Expo, Inc. (latinocollegeexpo.org).