Don’t plan to be the exception

With so much discussion and misinformation about what colleges are supposedly looking for, one resounding truth always comes through:

The strength of your course schedule and your grades in those classes are always the most important factors for admission.

Yes, depending on the schools, lots of other factors, from activities to essays to interviews can come into play. And I’m sure we can all find examples of students who bucked this truth and were admitted without the classes and grades of their fellow admits. But they’re the exception, not the rule.

But you’re attending college to be a student, first; your academic rigor and performance are the best predictors.

I’m not suggesting that you must take AP Everything and have a perfect GPA—the vast majority of colleges in this country don’t require that level of achievement.

But if you ever wonder if you’re doing the right things to prepare for college, ask yourself if you’re taking the most challenging classes you can reasonably handle, and if you’re making the effort every day to do your best work. Plan to be the rule, not the exception.