Applying for college can be tiring. It takes time coming up with the perfect application letter, researching universities, or deciding what school you’d like to attend. There are many factors to be taken into consideration when making these important life-changing decisions. This process will influence your life and future career.
We put up a list of steps to follow when applying for colleges. Take a look, and don’t hesitate to leave us feedback if you find it necessary.
1. Research Well
There are many aspects to take into account when applying for college. Your favorite university must meet your expectations and criterions. It’s important to look at the following details before committing:
- The location of the school – do you want a close-to-home school? Do you prefer being far away from home and independent?
- The size of the school – do you like small/large communities? In what environment do you feel more comfortable and why?
- The courses offered – what types of courses are you looking into? If you are a discovery major, is there something special that interests you?
- The money – how much does it cost to attend? Are you more interested in a public or a private school? Why? What are the benefits of each? What are the disadvantages?
Think everything through before making a final decision. It’s vital to be satisfied with your choices to not regret them in the future.
2. Build Up Three Lists
If you apply through the Common App (which I strongly advise you to do), implement the next strategy:
- Choose a number of schools you’d like to apply to. On Common App, the maximum number is 20, but each application takes time and money to complete.
- If you are in a difficult financial situation, apply for a waiver.
- After you’ve chosen the number of applications you’ll submit, divide the schools you are applying to into three categories: top schools, medium schools, and the last options.
- Reach for the top, but if you don’t get it, don’t be upset – you still have a back-up plan.
P.S. – don’t go only for top schools. Even if your high-school GPA exceeds the average and your college essay stands out, you never know what might happen. Always have a plan B.
3. Go on Campus Tours
Go on tours at most, if not all, the universities you’ve applied to. What better way to feel the campus vibes and meet the school’s staff than visiting the institutions themselves? When you get there, pay attention to how you are treated, how much emphasis the university places on the activities that you are interested in, and how real the staff seems to be. Observe first, make a decision later.
4. Brainstorm Essay Ideas
One of the greatest aspects colleges look into is the application essay. Even when students show perfect SAT scores and favorable high-school GPAs, if their essays are not well-designed and innovative, their chances of getting in are low. That’s why you need to place a special emphasis on this part of the process. It’s crucial to display great potential, extraordinary skills, yet substantial honesty.
The college essay is your chance to prove universities why you are truly special. It’s your chance to convince them to accept you. You can choose different approaches, and different tools to help you succeed. Chloe Charlwood, SAT tutor and Law School graduate, shares her opinion.
“It’s never off-base to request help from guardians, companions, teachers, tutors, or in any event, composing administrations at any scholastic level. Of course, don’t approach them like – ‘hey, do my dissertation for me!’ Ask for ideas and consult with them on certain matters. Don’t rely completely on their advice. Think for yourself!”
Let’s look into the different types of college essays and get you inspired:
The “an insight into my personality” approach. Recruiters love hearing about your personal traits, opinions, and views on the world. It helps them understand who you truly are, and it makes them see beyond your grades and academic achievements. Questions to ask yourself:
- Who are you outside of school and daily activities? Who are you inherently?
- What human qualities make you stand out of the crowd?
- What can you bring to the table? What benefits would the university have by accepting you?
- What values define you, and why do you want to go to college anyways?
The “struggle that I’ve gone through” approach. If you’ve struggled before, and you feel comfortable sharing how and why, go for this type of essay. It will provide an insight not only into your personality, but into your life perceptions.
- What struggles have you gone through and why?
- How did you overcome the obstacles?
- How did you feel after moving on? Explain every feeling, emphasize it with visual and auditory images.
The “why I want to get into college” approach. This type of essay is commonly used by first generation college students. It shows determination to succeed and willingness to progress.
- How do you feel as the first person to attend college in your family?
- Why do you want to attend college?
- What do you have to prove?
- What do you want to change in this world?
- How are you going to change it?
Choose the essay type that fits you the best. Don’t be dramatic in your writing, but do explain all the factors that led to your decision of attending college. Be explicit, yet concise and to the point.
5. Ask for Recommendations
Last step of the process is asking for recommendations. Make sure you ask teachers, mentors, and people that you are really close to. It’s important to have personal recommendations sent to your favorite colleges. If your contacts are not familiar with the process, explain them all the details they must know.
When applying for college, make sure you research well, choose proper schools, go on campus tours, brainstorm multiple essay ideas, and ask for recommendations from the right people.