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College Application Tips!

So, after submitting 11 applications, I repeat 11 applications, I feel like I could complete an application in my sleep! As a senior I feel like my world revolves around college applications. Sometimes I feel like it’s all I talk and think about. As stressful as this time period can be, there are some really important tips that can be extremely helpful in the process. I apologize in advance for how long this post is!



1. When reviewing your essay for your application ask yourself, “Could anybody have written this?” If so that’s a sign you need to make it more personal! If you’re writing about what success means to you, add some flare and let your personality show through! I was recently talking with a college admissions counselor and she told me that her favorite essay to date was one telling the story of how his life paralleled Calvin and Hobbs! So make the essay yours! It’s the only way college counselors can see some of your personality come out!

2. START EARLY. I really cannot stress this enough. The worst feeling in the world is waiting until the last minute and feeling rushed and overwhelmed with stress. And trust me, that’s the last thing you need! Usually college applications come out around August 1, and I suggest hopping on the bus right away and trying to get as much as possible done before school begins.  Once school starts, the  stress of homework and studying also begins.Prior to August 1,  you should make a list of all the colleges/ universities you plan to apply to!

3. Stay organized. As simple as this sounds it really can make all the difference. There are a few essential things to keep track of when taking on the daunting task of applying. For example, what deadline are you applying for? Every school has different deadlines to pick from!  Before I started this whole process there was NO WAY I knew the difference between early action and early decision. Well for all those high schoolers out there, here’s a little key!

Early Decision- BINDING. Binding means that you sign a form saying that if you are accepted into this school you are for sure going there. You will then have to decline all other acceptances and withdraw any pending applications. This means you can only apply to one school early decision. I only suggest doing early decision if you are 100% for sure that is the school you want to go to. You should also remember that with this agreement, you are commiting to this one school before you find out if you will receive any financial awards.

Early Action- The title kind of says it all! Early action means you turn in your application usually a little earlier and you find out earlier than regular decision. Early Action is non-binding which means you are not committed to going there if you get in, but you still have the convenience of finding out a bit earlier!

Regular Decision- Regular decision is also nonbinding and is the last deadline. You find out a bit later than the other deadlines, but you have the luxury of having more time to complete your application!

I also made a small spread sheet that you can easily download and print out to help you keep track of all of your applications and stay organized! It’s great to fill out and keep with you. I still suggest writing every deadline in your planner just to be sure!



4. Make a resume. Having a resume complied with all your achievements, awards, activities (sports, community, and clubs), and volunteer work will be extremely useful. I really cannot emphasize this enough. Every application I completed asked me at the minimum what activities I have done throughout my four years and what volunteer work I’ve done. Having a resume makes it so easy to resort to, so you don’t have to come up with a list every time! If there are any freshmen out there reading this, it’s never too early to start a running list! I guarantee you four years later when you’re trying to put together a list of your volunteer work, you are not going to remember that bake sale you  worked in September of 9th grade!

5.Preview your application. Often times before you press submit there is a preview button, almost like a print preview! It’s a really good idea to preview your full application before you submit for a few reasons. The way you preview it is exactly how the college is going to view it. Occasionally, the way the applications are formatted by the college can cut things off! By previewing your application you can double check (or triple check) to make sure nothing gets cut off and everything essential is there!

It’s a stressful time but I promise you if you use all of these tips the whole process will be a whole lot easier! Good luck to all the seniors out there! And for you freshmen, sophomore, and juniors, it’s never too early to start thinking about college!

Always remember,

Cheers!

Shannon


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