Preparing for college is a complicated and time consuming process. Whether you're a student looking at school options or a parent seeking advice, our guide will help make this big step a little easier to take.More >>
KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- The Hope Scholarship is keeping more students in Tennessee. That means more people are applying to state schools and driving up the competition for admissions.
"I would definitely be concerned because it's so competitive," said UT junior Jenny Williams.
Jenny says she is glad she applied to the university early and knows students who follow her will have to meet a much higher standard to get in.
This year's incoming freshman at UT have an average ACT score of 27 and a GPA of 3.7.
"Your freshman year is your most important year," Jenny warns. "Freshman, sophomore and junior year you have to study, you have to make those good grades. Just because you're a freshman doesn't mean you can slack off."
High school guidance counselors can get you on track early.
"You can talk to students, even in the ninth grade, about planning, activities to be involved in to sort of develop your resume or your high school profile," said Sarah Bast, who is a high school counselor in Knox County.
Bast says it's ideal for students to get their college applications in by their sophomore year. They should complete their applications no later than fall of their junior year.
Guidance counselors like Sarah encourage students to make sure they have put together a good profile that shows what they've accomplished in high school.
"Colleges are not looking for somebody who is the president of 12 different clubs," Sarah said. "But what I think they are looking for is somebody who has a passion for an activity and can see over the long haul that the student has really developed in this organization."
Students are admitted to college on the work they've done from their freshman through junior years. Waiting to get act together their senior year can be too late.