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What does it take to get into a top-tier college?

The short answer is a lot of strategy and creativity. A checklist might include thoughtful consideration of the following: 1) career goals 2) college search 3) class planning 4) engaging conversations with counselors and teachers 5) thorough resume/brag sheet 6) depth in activities 7) unique experiences (step outside your comfort zone) 8) well-written stories 9) studying and test preparation 10) insightful recommendations This is not an exhaustive list, but one that hopefully gets you thinking. College admissions is a combination of art and strategy. I hope you can consider these ideas and discuss them more in depth with others!