5 Tips for College Applications
As a recent high school graduate, I know how stressful the college application process is. Hell, I only applied to 4 schools and it was stressful (and none of them were even Ivy League!). But after months of stress, essay re-writes, interviews, and filling out FAFSA, I did get in to 3 out of the 4 schools I applied to and I’m now enrolled to begin at my dream school this fall! Here are the things the helped me maintain my sanity and get into the school of my dreams.
1. Start early.
Unfortunately, one of the schools I applied to was a last minute decision. Like, I literally started and finished the application two days before the deadline. And it was the most stressful two days of my life. So, take it from someone who knows: as soon as the applications goes online, start it. Even if that only means entering in your name, high school, and address, it’s better than nothing and will save your time and your sanity later on. Plus, you’ll have more time to focus on your personal statement and really showcase who you are.
2. Keep all of your information in one place.
If not all of your applications are on the Common App (only one of mine was), it helps to keep all important information (i.e: Social Security number, high school transcript, volunteer and work experience phone numbers and addresses, recommendation letters, etc.) in one place so that you can access everything you need without hunting around every time you fill out an application.
3. Proofread. And proofread again.
In fact, get three different people help you proofread and at least one person to help you edit your personal statement. You don’t want to get dinged by the admissions staff because you accidentally left the comma out of “it’s” or used “affect” when you should have used “effect.” And if you’re going to have a teacher edit it (especially if it’s an English teacher), be sure to ask early. They’ll be getting tons of requests and you don’t want them to pass you up because they’re tired of reading personal statements.
4. Be Yourself.
Whether you are writing your personal statement or sitting in an interview with a college rep, make sure you’re being genuine. Trust me, it’s easy to spot someone who’s kissing up to the interviewer or telling them what they think the interviewer wants to hear, rather than being unique, genuine, and being themselves. Colleges want to accept the real you, not the fake version that you think they want to see.
It may seem like the college application process is the only important thing to worry about for the next three months, but I promise you that it’s not. Yes, it is a big deal, but if you’re spending hours upon hours pouring over your essay day in and day out for a month, you’re just going to drive yourself crazy and drive your friends and family away. Take time to relax, enjoy time with your loved ones, and treat yourself kindly. Don’t pass up any fun senior year activities (football games, Homecoming, etc.) just because you want to spend more time perfecting your application. These are experiences you won’t get back if you skip them. By all means, work hard on your applications to make them as good as you can, but don’t sacrifice your life, sanity, or amazing experiences in a misguided pursuit of perfection.