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College 101

Increase your chances of getting in with these winning college application tips and techniques.

Applying to college is an involved process and with the right direction you can get into the colleges of your dreams. Prepare for applications by exploring our top 10 tips for college application success!

1. Meet College Application Deadlines, Apply Early

If you want to apply to several colleges, be aware of every deadline. Keep in mind that admissions panels across the board receive thousands of applications at once so beat the rush by submitting yours early!

 

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2. Complete the Entire Application

Take your time with each college application; fill it out carefully and double-check each section. If you submit an incomplete application, the panel may believe you are not a serious or qualified candidate. Take the required admissions tests well in advance in case you don’t earn a qualifying score the first time you take them.

3. Include Your Extracurricular Activities

Admissions officers look for students who have maintained a strong academic standing and a proven track record of extracurricular activities. Admissions panels usually give priority and scholarships to well-rounded students who lead a balanced, driven and active life.

4. Be Neat and Organized

College admissions review panels do not appreciate misspellings, grammatical and syntactical errors. Technical issues discredit you as a serious applicant and if you turn in a hard copy application, be sure to write as neatly as possible. Also, it helps to have a friend, teacher, or family member look over your college application before submission to assure that it is neat and complete.

5. Write a Stellar Essay: Avoid the Fluffy Stuff

When you answer application questions and essay prompts, steer clear of “the fluff”. The redundant filler words and phrases can bore the reader and will not help your college admissions essay stand out from the rest. Write clear and concise sentences that directly answer the prompt, conveying exactly who you are and why you want to go to that school. Admissions officers are more impressed by simple and articulate essays than wordy, unintelligible language that “sounds smart” or is “trying too hard.”

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6. Be Creative

There is a distinct line between creative writing and fluff, so if you feel confident enough in your writing, take a chance and have fun with your essay. This is your opportunity to “wow” the panel and show off your skills. Applications officers review hundreds and thousands of applications in a very short period, so make yours shine. However, make sure to use tact and keep it appropriate. If your essay is in any way offensive, you may not be considered.

7. Don’t be Cliché

Stay true to yourself. Depending on the essay prompt, reflect on your experiences or express your opinions with sincerity and originality. This is your chance to demonstrate your individuality so avoid regurgitating the stale “shoot for the stars” speech.

8. Honesty is the Best Policy

Don’t lie on your college applications. Embellishing the truth will only hurt you in the long run and admissions officers are authorized to check your claims and references. Allowing your parents to complete your application is also dishonest. You are the person who is applying to college, not your parents. It’s fine to ask their opinions about it, but it’s cheating to have someone else write your essay or fill out your application.

9. Don’t Forget Essential Documents

Don’t forget to provide your high school transcript, SAT/SAT II/ACT test scores, and letters of recommendation as needed. Take the required admissions tests well in advance in case you don’t earn a qualifying score the first time you take them. One tip: DO NOT send the admissions panel flowers, chocolates, balloons or muffins.

10. Get Awesome Letters of Recommendation

Many colleges require one or more letters of recommendation from a teacher, coach, administrator or other adult who knows you well. Ask for a recommendation well in advance to ensure that you meet your deadline.

 

 

 

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Correctly submitting all the different pieces of your college application is like a test — one you can easily pass. While the process may seem complicated, a little organization and attention go a long way.Image result for college application

Start early and beat the deadline.

Getting Organized

You can apply to colleges online or through the mail. Online applications can be processed quickly and may have built-in checks to ensure all materials are included. Mailed applications are easier to proofread. Either way, following this advice will set you up to succeed.

Start early. Set deadlines for completing essays, collecting recommendations and filling out forms a few weeks before they’re actually required. Mark these earlier deadlines on your calendar and don’t miss them. College websites are the best place to find accurate deadline information.

Be consistent. Using the exact same name on all your forms makes things easier for admission officers. Decide if you want to use a shortened version of your legal name or your middle name, and then always use the same version. Switching names — going from Bill to Billy, for example — increases the odds that your materials will get misfiled.

Be careful. Careless mistakes on your application can hurt your chances of getting accepted. After you finish an application, put it aside for a day and then check it over for errors. If you can, have a teacher or parent proofread it as well. Save and review online applications before you submit them.

Alert your school. You need to let school officials know which colleges you’re applying to so they can send along your transcripts. The people you ask to write recommendation letters also need to know where you’re applying if they’re mailing the letters themselves.

Completing the Package

Once you’ve completed your application, follow these tips to make sure all the parts get where they’re going.

Don’t wait. Anything that needs to be mailed, including your application itself, should be sent in several weeks before it is due. This allows time for delivery and processing. Online materials should be sent weeks before the deadline as well.

Submit once. When yImage result for college applicationou apply online, you’ll usually get an automated response saying your materials have been received. If you don’t, contact the college’s admission office. Don’t apply online again or mail in another application.

Keep copies. Make a copy of each piece of each application. Save personal identification numbers, passwords, canceled checks and notes or emails from admission officers. This documentation can save you if a problem arises.

Get confirmation. If you mail applications, put a stamped postcard addressed to your house in each package so admission officers can let you know that your materials arrived. The U.S. Post Office also offers a similar “return receipt” service. It may take a few weeks for confirmation cards to reach you.

If you get a notice saying something is missing, don’t panic. Just call the admission office and calmly ask what steps you can take. This is why you wisely saved copies of everything and sent in your application early!