How to Get into Your Dream School


Getting into college is tough. Students (and their parents) spend hundreds of hours over 4+ years navigating college admissions. You have an involved set of needs: (1) help finding post-secondary paths and (2) support building and executing admissions strategies.


These needs aren’t always met: 70%+ of high school students report being constantly worried about getting into the colleges of their choice. This blog is meant to support college-inclined students with 3 important admissions tips.


Tip #1: Build a target program list


Understanding which programs and colleges you may be interested in sets the foundation for your entire admissions strategy. The list can evolve as you progress through high school, but having some idea of your goals will allow you to be efficient with your non-studying time. Before building your program list, ask yourself some questions:


  1. What careers am I interested in?
  2. What are my passions?
  3. Which classes or subjects am I interested in?


This will help you narrow down your program interests to 3 or 4 options. Now you have to build a list of colleges that both offer those programs and meet your criteria. Try thinking through these questions:


  1. How far from home do I want to be?
  2. What size of school do I want to go to?
  3. Do they have the programs I’m interested in?


Questions like this can help you narrow down the list to 10-20 options. This list can serve as the foundation for your admissions strategy.


Tip #2: Have an admissions strategy


Students don’t achieve their college dreams by accident. Having a strategy for course selection, extracurricular activities, and volunteering is really important. Being intentional and efficient with your out-of-school time allows you to do things that actually matter to admissions - and enjoy the process!


High school offers the opportunity to put your strategy to work. Colleges love to see how you’ve explored different aspects of life and found ways to unlock your potential.


  1. Extracurriculars can help you explore your passions - we love seeing students getting involved, and so do colleges. Although it might be a little difficult right now, there are still tons of extracurriculars out there. Whether it’s joining a sports team, a club, or taking on a leadership role, extracurriculars are a fun way to find out what interests you.


  1. Volunteering is a great way to test out a career - colleges aren’t just looking for students with the best marks; you need to show you’ve invested in yourself and your community. Volunteering is a great way to test out a future career, get involved in your community, and can lead to good entrance essay topics.


These types of activities are important for college and scholarship applications.


Tip #3: Don’t do this alone


Coaching gives students a competitive advantage over the tens of thousands of applicants for each program. There are several resources available to support your admissions journey.


  1. School counselors: are a solid jumping-off point when it comes to the college admissions process. Unfortunately, most counselors are overworked and provide generalized advice and pamphlets.


  1. Education consultants: are often experts in a specific program or college. They are helpful but on average cost $200 per hour and thousands of dollars per year.


  1. Halp (that’s us!): we provide 1-on-1 digital admissions coaching. You can start today regardless of where you are (grades 9-12) in the process. With Halp, you get a personalized college admissions plan, a coach to help you follow the plan, mentoring from undergraduate students in your target programs, essay editing, and more. Most importantly, we are able to offer this service on a sliding scale - $24/mo or less. Joining is simple:


    1. Meet your coach and explain your situation (free)
    2. Receive your personal admissions plan (free)
    3. Approve your plan and hit the ground running

You can meet your coach and get an admissions plan tailored to your goals today! Once you’ve seen your plan, you decide whether you want to purchase a monthly membership.

Hopefully, these tips support you throughout your admissions journey. Pursuing college is amazing and you don’t have to do it alone.


Good luck!
Matthew McLellan

Co-founder, CEO - Halp, a partner of Aspire Education