Ten Things You Need to Know About the College Application Process
Surely, you have heard the stories – the dramas, the triumphs, the trials and tribulations of those who have gone before you. So what should you expect as you head into this process of applying to college?
1. No two students have the same experience. Take everyone else’s story with a grain of salt. Put your head down and focus on your own path.
2. There is no right or wrong way to go about this process. Everyone will be giving advice. Your college guidance counselor will have one perspective. Your parents may have completely different expectations. Listen to what everyone says and proceed according to what makes the most sense to you.
3. It’s okay to ask for help. The college application process will be uncharted territory for you. Letting an experienced hand guide you can minimize stress and maximize productivity. The application must be your own work, but there is nothing wrong with having someone provide structure and hold you accountable.
4. Applying to college is like taking an extra course or working a part-time job. The sooner you accept this and allot the required time, the easier it will be to keep track of all the moving pieces and sync them up at the end.
5. The earlier you start, the better your application will be. That may mean fumbling around in the dark and feeling like you are wasting time for a while. That’s okay. The more time you give yourself, the more unique, compelling, and remarkable your application will be.
6. The best plan of attack is to do a little something every day. Consistency and moderation should be your mantra. Chip away at the process for 20 minutes a day. Before you know it, your application will need only a little fine-tuning in order to be complete.
7. Letters of recommendation are a work in progress. Don’t procrastinate when it comes to requesting them. You are helping the teacher, and therefore helping yourself, when you make these requests early. This allows the teacher time to write an individualized and substantive letter.
8. Interviews can only help, so take advantage of this opportunity to bolster your application. Practicing before you go into an interview is essential. As part of your preparation, write out your talking points – qualities and accomplishments you want to work into the conversation.
9. You should never be afraid to ask questions. Wherever you are in the process, the more questions you ask, the better your application will be. You can’t afford not to ask.
10. All you can do is your best. Double, triple, even quadruple check your work – reading the copy forwards, backwards and upside down – for typos and misspellings. Then have someone you trust proof it. When you are ready, hit ‘Submit’ and trust everything will work out perfectly.