If you want to know how to get into college, it first starts with researching the colleges you would like to attend and being realistic about whether or not you can get accepted; regardless if you desire to attend a school like Harvard or your local community college.

That said, you don’t have to be a straight A student to get into college. If you follow these basic steps below on how to get into college, you should be able to get accepted into at least one school.

Have Good Grades

This is a no brainer. If you want to get into a good college, especially a college of your choice, you will need to have good grades in high school. Again, you don’t necessarily need to be an A student to get accepted into college, but it certainly helps.

If your grades are less than stellar, participating in extracurricular activities at your high school will boost your chances of getting accepted. Why? Because college admissions love, love, love students who participate in extracurricular activities.

 Good SAT or ACT scores

Whether you have to take the SAT or the ACT, having a high score is key because this is what colleges mostly look at. Prepare for these exams as much as possible by taking a prep class or reviewing with a prep book from your local library.

If your high school offers a practice SAT or ACT exam, take it so you can get an idea of what your score will be like if you were taking the real exam. If your practice score is low, make sure to review as much as possible to increase your score.

 Letter of Recommendations

When it comes to recommendation letters, it’s a good idea to get a recommendation from someone who knows you personally like one of your teachers or a close friend of the family who works as a professional (i.e. a doctor, lawyer, banker, CEO, business owner, etc.). 

Make sure you give the person you asked for a recommendation letter enough time to write the letter for you. Never ask for a recommendation letter from someone at the last minute.

 Excellent Personal Statements or College Essays

When it comes to figuring out how to get into college, an excellent personal statement or college essay is important to make you stand out from the other applicants. If you are not a good writing, it’s crucial you seek help from your English teacher or from someone who knows how to write extremely well.

Be sure to give your college essay some personality and be honest about who you are. If your high school grades are low due to you having to work two jobs, write about that. If you have a major illness, but still managed to get straight A’s, then write about that. Colleges want to know the real you so therefore, college essays have to have personality.

 Apply to Schools You Can Get Into

Everyone wants to get into a Tier 1 school like Harvard, but the truth of the matter is most people can’t get into Harvard due to their grades. Therefore, research colleges and make sure to apply to schools you think you can get into, as well as colleges “you know” you can get into.

For example, if your grades can get you accepted into a Tier 2 college, then mostly apply to Tier 2 schools. However, by all means apply to one or two Tier 1 colleges, but definitely make sure to also apply to one or two Tier 3 colleges, one or two Tier 4 colleges, and a community college.

With grades good enough for a Tier 2 school, you should definitely be able to get accepted into a Tier 3, Tier 4, and community college just in case you don’t get accepted into a Tier 1 or Tier 2 school. It is best that you cover all your bases because remember, the goal is to "get accepted" into college!

If you can only get accepted into a community college, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As a matter of fact, obtaining your Associates of Arts Degree (AA) from a community college first and then transferring to a 4-year college will save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

That’s a very good thing because many college graduates are burdened with astronomical college debt! If paying for college will be a challenge for you, then attending a community college first will be your best bet.

Besides, there are many excellent community colleges with tenured professors where you can get just as good of an education as you would at a college or university. Just be sure to get good grades and seek out help if you ever need to bring up your GPA in college to make transferring to a 4-year school a breeze!