3 Common Sense Tips for Applying to Colleges

January 11, 2013 Category: College Tips

It’s understandable that applying to several colleges is stressful and any way to make the process less overwhelming would be a welcome gesture. But there’s a difference between taking the easy way out and using methods that are convenient but also effective.

Most times all it takes is common sense to determine whether or not certain actions should (or should not) be taken when preparing college applications for submissions.

Don’t Rely on the Copy & Paste

There is a time and a place for doing the copy and paste method. Filling out college applications electronically is ideal for using the copy and paste shortcut when it comes to providing basic, routine information: full name, address, contact information, etc.

Applying for CollegesWhere copy and paste can get tricky is when it comes to larger bodies of content like the personal statement essay. It is common practice for students to save time and effort by copying and pasting their personal statement essays and switching the names of the schools. When done properly, this method is a time saver–mainly when students take the extra time to read through each essay to make sure things match up to the right school. That’s the common sense part.

Sadly, with the time crunch to meet deadlines and the multitasking required when applying to several schools, students oftentimes fail to dedicate that extra time to go back over their work. Unless this extra step is taken, it’s better to personalize each essay for each school being applied to.

The Too Good to Be True Letter of Recommendation

It makes sense for students to assume that providing perfectly packaged, praise-heavy letters of recommendation would impress admissions officers but the truth is that applicants should never present themselves to be “too good to be true.” Having a positively written letter of recommendation stating a student can do no wrong is nice but what will really make an applicant stand out is submitting a letter that describes challenges and/or obstacles a student had to overcome and how those experiences helped them grow as an individual.

Common sense tip for high school students seeking letters of recommendation: instead of heading straight for the teachers whose classes you always get As in, take a detour for the teacher(s) whose classes you busted your butt in to improve a grade. This type of letter of recommendation will go much farther.

Your Online Self Doesn’t Match Your Offline Self

Working professionals aren’t the only ones getting tripped up by what they post about online. Students with dreams of getting into college must use common sense when it comes to what they post on the Internet (this includes photos, status updates and comments made on other people’s profiles). It doesn’t take much for admissions officers to look up an applicant online to see if what they’ve put on their application matches.

Common sense doesn’t mean be fake in this type of situation. Be yourself but realize that whatever is posted will be seen by more than your good buddies.

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