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Tips & Advice

Tips for the College Admissions Process

College applications- these words often strike fear into the hearts of even the most prepared students. Picking the college, writing the essays, making sure you have enough qualifications, the list goes on and on. It seems like there’s an endless amount of work to do on top of high school itself, but don’t worry. With these tips, applying for college will be a piece of cake.

1. Start early. There’s no rule of college applications that says when you should start. Although most kids start getting to work in the late summer and fall, it certainly doesn’t hurt to start a little earlier (or maybe a lot earlier!) Start applying for scholarships as soon as you can to accumulate money for college. That way, when admissions time comes, you won’t have as many scholarship essays right on top of your application essays. Don’t hesitate to contact teachers and other community members about recommendations during the summer, either. Even if they don’t get started until the fall, you’ve pretty much guaranteed that yours is the first recommendation they write!

2. Stay organized. It’s no secret that the college application process mean writing lots and lots of essays. Make sure to compile every essay you write into a folder on your computer for easy access. Oftentimes you’ll find that one essay can work for many different scholarships with a little bit of tweaking. It also helps to have a “brag folder” on your computer. This is where you keep your resume and all of your accomplishments updated. That way, you’ll have nice list to choose from when writing rather than trying to keep track of everything you’ve done in your head.

3. Don’t limit your school options. For the first three years of high school I was set on going to a certain college, but guess what? I’m not going to that college. That’s because I found a college that’s a better fit for me, one I hadn’t even considered until senior year. The point is, don’t turn down a college without looking into it first. You may find that you almost passed by your perfect college.

4. Present yourself as a whole, well-rounded person. While academics are a very important aspect of your application, remember that they are not the be-all and end-all. You are not just your grades, and college admissions officers know that. It’s important that you show yourself as dedicated outside of school as you are in school. Colleges today put a big emphasis on global engagement, and community service in particular. I found that having my own charity helped a lot with my applications, but any amount of volunteerism makes you a much better candidate.

5. Visit the campus. Getting on campus is one of the best ways to get a clear picture of how college life on that campus works. It can also help a lot with deciding which college is right for you. You will also have the opportunity to meet some of the people who will be essential during your college years such as deans, counselors, and professors. An interview on campus will help to answer a lot of questions just looking at the website can’t.