Ace those tests
Schedule your standardized tests (try to take them twice, if you can), and study up! Now that school’s back in session and you’ve got all that sunbathing out of your system, you’ll finally be able to make yourself go through those practice tests and vocabulary cards.
Make friends with teachers
You don’t have to sit with them at lunch, but remember that at least two of your teachers will be writing your recommendations. Forge strong relationships-stay active in class discussions and keep them posted on your extra-curricular activities and achievements. The better they know you, the more praise they can bestow.
Manage your time
Winning essays aren’t written in a weekend: brainstorming, drafting, editing, and sharing your work can take months. Leave yourself plenty of time to work on your essays, even if it means TIVO-ing a few season premieres. A fat envelope in the spring will be worth it.
Study your schools
The best applicants know their top choices-the name of the library, where students hang out for coffee after class, a star professor they’d love work with. Go beyond the basics of class size and location and find out what makes your school special. The extra effort will shine through in your application.
If you love science, take the hardest science classes offered at your school. If writing’s your thing, freelance for a local newspaper. Go above and beyond; show you’re not afraid to be passionate and take risks. This is one tip that won’t just get you into college, but get you through life.