Do you dream that, one day, you will go to one of the nation’s top schools? If so, you’re not alone.

However, these schools can be very difficult to get into. In fact, their high admissions standards are what makes them so very prestigious.

With that said, it is very possible to get into one of these schools. However, doing so requires a lot of dedication and hard work. The sooner the applicant can start preparing himself or herself for the admissions process, the better.

So, no matter where you may currently be in the process, it’s imperative to start working hard to plan for the future and for the top tier education you desire.

Aim for a Perfect (or Nearly Perfect GPA)

One of the main things that ivy league schools use to determine who they will accept is a student’s grade point average, or GPA.

Your GPA is an accumulation of your grades throughout your high school career. Or, if you went to community college first or to undergraduate school first, those GPAs may be considered instead.

You want your GPA to be as high as possible. The closer to perfect it is, the higher your chances of getting into the school of your dreams.

So, while you shouldn’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect, you should work hard. Doing so will increase your chances of getting into your preferred school.

If your GPA is on the low side, you may want to consider taking additional classes or seeking a lower-level education elsewhere. This step can help you to improve your GPA before applying to your first-choice ivy league school.

Take Difficult Classes

As mentioned above, top schools are more likely to accept applicants with higher GPAs.

So, knowing that, it can be very tempting to just take the easiest classes, thus making it easier to get a high GPA.

Unfortunately, though, top-level schools do not just look at the GPA alone. Instead, they look at the “big picture” of your education. This includes looking at the exact classes that you took, and top schools want to see some rigorous courses on your transcript.

So, in other words, just acing simple classes is not going to make you a “star applicant.” You need to take rigorous, difficult, courses, such as Advanced Placement (AP) courses or Honors courses.

Be willing to challenge yourself and to work hard inside of those challenging courses to get not just a great GPA but a great GPA that comes from top performance in difficult classes.

Know Why You Want to Go

Something else that can help you when applying to the top colleges USA has to offer is knowing exactly why you want to go to the school of your choice and being able to express that in a real way.

For example, if you know you want to go to Yale, you would want to have specific reasons why that school is one of your top choices. “Good reasons” include knowing where it stands in the college rankings or knowing what achievements specific graduates have had.

Show the school, both through your application and your in-person interview, that you have truly chosen it above all the other options out there. If you can do this, you can prove that it’s really where you want to go and that you’ve done your research.

This attitude makes it seem like you’ve taken the time to choose a school that’s truly the right fit for you, not like you’re just trying to go somewhere because it’s “the best.” This is appealing to admissions committees who want truly motivated candidates.

Make Your Admission Essay Stand Out

One final thing that you can do to increase your chances of getting into the school of your dreams is to go the extra mile when it comes to your admissions essay.

Do everything you can to make your essay stand out. Don’t just list achievements. Be special; find what makes you a unique candidate and student, and then make sure those things come across in your essay.

You may want to hire a professional writer to look over your essay for grammatical errors and to help you strengthen it as much as possible.

Also, make sure you adhere to all instructions concerning word count and other rules so that your essay doesn’t get overlooked for some silly error.

Getting into the school of your choice may not be easy, but it will definitely be worth it. So, work hard, follow these tips, and believe in yourself. With this combination, your academic dreams are sure to come true.