College-Savvy Tips for Teens

Pointers from a Detroit teen who was accepted into 45 colleges.

college tips

Content sponsored by Wayne County Community College District.

Getting into college can be a grueling process. But angling for acceptance to 50 colleges? That takes dedication – and that’s exactly what Michael Love has. This 17-year-old graduated from Cornerstone Health + Technology High School in Detroit this past spring.

There, he set a personal goal to apply to 50 colleges and get offered $500,000 in scholarships. “Nobody told me
to set those goals. I did that myself,” he says. “I stayed up until 12, 1 a.m.
– late at night after basketball practice – just to do that.”

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Ultimately, he was accepted to 45 of those schools – and offered more
than $623,419 in scholarships, with two schools offering a full ride. As the
acceptance letters poured in – from Oakland University to the
University of Arizona, Georgetown College and other schools all over the
country – Love celebrated each and every one.

“I’ve been excited every time,” says Love, who decided to study aerospace engineering at Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis. “A lot of students don’t even get $1 from a school. I’m just so blessed.” And this Detroiter wants other high schoolers to experience the same thing. He also thinks African American males don’t always get the encouragement to focus on academics.

“I wanted to show the male community that it’s not all about sports, it
can be academics too,” says Love, who’s participated in National Honors Society
and other academic extracurriculars in addition to playing varsity sports.

He’s even
written a book – LEAP: Let Education Accelerate Progress – to inspire
other kids to follow suit. “You don’t have to be the 4.0 student that you
always hear about,” he says. “As long as you stay focused and put in the work,
you can do it.”

Here, Love
offers his six tips for high schoolers just starting the college application
process.

1. Explore multiple colleges and programs

Go to as many
college tours and admissions events as you can to help you get a feel for what
the school is like. Open your mind to options, too. “You don’t have to go to
a big school to
have a good education.”

2. Get involved

Take part in
extracurricular activities to help you discover your passions and stand out on applications. Love has
been involved in many programs, and, “It’s helped me get in the community.”

3. Study for admissions tests

Standardized
test scores, like the ACT and SAT, matter – so don’t just wing it. Even if you
aren’t the best test-taker (Love says he’s not), it helps to prep for these
tests in advance. “Make sure you study.”

4. Apply for scholarships

College costs
are always rising and every scholarship dollar counts, Love emphasizes. “You
need to apply to scholarships as early as possible,” even before you
start high school. “You might apply to 100 scholarships, but let’s say you just
get one – that’s $500 or $1,000. Every one counts.”

5. Find a good-fit program

“Make sure you
look at a major that fits you.” Love wanted to study business but now plans to
be an aerospace engineer and partner with places like NASA and Boeing. Once he
got a chance to explore the inside of different aircrafts, he realized
aerospace engineering was the right program for him. “Just make sure you want to go to a major or a program that fits to
you.”

6. Don’t stop pushing yourself

“You always
have to inspire yourself even when other people are not helping you. Just keep
pushing yourself, and it can add up in the long run.”

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