1. Find the right match. Not every school is right for every student. Focus more on pairing students with appropriate colleges based on academic, social, extracurricular and personal needs rather than on school rankings or comparisons with other students.
2. Start early. Rather than endure a feverish race to the finish line, initial steps in the college process should be taken freshman year.
3. Discover a niche. Every student is good at something; the key is finding what that is as early as possible. Students should sample various extracurricular activities beginning in middle school and throughout freshman year.
4. Pick and stick. Once students find an area of expertise, they should give it their all. Commitment and consistency over time are highly regarded by college admissions officers.
5. Claim to fame. Developing talents throughout middle and high school serves to highlight students and separate them from the pack in the admissions process. No one talent is more valuable than another; level of involvement and proficiency reign supreme. Whether an accomplished yodeler or the more traditional football player, each student has the opportunity to shine.
6. Record extracurricular activities. Students should begin developing their resumes during freshman year and add to them periodically throughout high school.
7. Create a transcript identity. Selecting electives is yet another opportunity for students to stand out from their peers. Whether journalism, theatre, engineering or debate…consistency is the key.
8. Challenge matters. Students shouldn’t be afraid to take risks, but they should challenge themselves appropriately. Students should enroll in the most challenging curriculum available while still maintaining a healthy GPA, earning grades of A or B.
9. Maximize school offerings. Students are evaluated within the context of their own school. Just as no student is penalized in the admissions process for not taking calculus if it is not offered, students are expected to enroll in higher-level coursework when appropriate and to involve themselves in a rich extracurricular life.
10. There’s no formula. Because colleges seek diversity among students, there’s no mathematical equation in determining admission. The message? Be yourself, and the right colleges will emerge.
To find out more about Riviera Schools, contact Riviera Day School (PK-5th Grade), 6800 Nervia St., Coral Gables, 305.666.1856; Riviera Preparatory School (6th Grade-12th Grade), 9775 SW 87th Ave., Miami, 786.300.0300; or visit RivieraSchools.com.