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The number of talented high school seniors applying to college in the United States has continued to rise each year. Over the next few years, the total number of high school graduates is projected to rise by 10 percent, as is the subsequent number of students applying to college — and that means thousands more applicants in the college admissions process.

While there’s enough space for all those additional students in schools across the country, the most desired schools can’t accept everyone. Admission committees must weed through a significant number of applications to determine who gets accepted and who doesn’t. That means it’s more important than ever to meet those college admission requirements.

Colleges compete for students as well

Colleges take the competition among high school seniors for slots at their schools very seriously. Over the years, many schools have altered their recruiting tactics to fit the market. How? By turning themselves into brand names and offering incentives such as free airline tickets and college weekends in their efforts to enroll the most desirable students. So while students vie against each other to submit the best college admissions requirements to their dream school, colleges are passing out goodie bags to get the premier students through their doors.

Next steps in the college admission process

If you want to attend a great school, your best course of defense is what it’s always been: work hard throughout high school to increase your chances of getting into your school of choice. The most competitive colleges will hone in on the key parts of your college admission requirements: your transcripts to determine your GPA, as well as the number of AP classes you’ve completed. Throw great SAT or ACT scores into the mix, and your chances of being accepted will be much better.

However, even with your best efforts, you could still be turned away — not due to any deficits, but solely to volume. Get your applications in as early as possible, create a solid list of safety schools, get a head start on the admissions competition, and don’t be afraid to ask for college admissions assistance. No matter where you end up, if you apply to schools that suit you, you’ll have a great college experience!