The competition to get into college is getting tougher and tougher. The number of applications is getting higher every year and only a small percentage of students are accepted for the freshman class. The application process seems like it should be easy, by filling out a bunch a forms with a lot of basic information. Maybe it is like that for some, but those are the ones that did not make the cut.
This application is your ticket into the right college, so filling it out just right makes the deciding difference. Here are some tips to help you with this process.
Teacher Recommendations: You as the student must put work into this as well as the teacher writing the recommendation. Make sure you remind the teacher of how you were in their class, what you did and what you accomplished, even talk about what you found interesting or exciting in the class. This keeps the teacher from writing a laundry list of extra-curricular activities. It also helps if you choose a teacher that knows you and that you took an active role in the class.
Community Leadership: You do not have to go to a third world country and help dig a well to show your leadership skills. It is more important to show that you took part in helping in your own backyard. Colleges like to see that you took on a leadership role and showed original and creative initiatives at home maybe getting others involved.
Do Not Be Redundant: When you write your essay, make sure it is not repeating what your application or teacher recommendations say. If your Spanish teacher talks about how you led the Spanish Club, or your resume says you are the captain of the soccer team, then make sure you write about a different topic.
Start Early: A resume including a short essay on a meaningful extracurricular activity or work experience and a longer personal statement are always required. Do not wait until the last minute to write these. It is advisable to start these in the summer. This gives you time to revise and have them looked over.
Why This School Question: Many schools will as applicants to write a few sentences on why they are interested in attending that school. Try to make the essay about you and why you would be a good fit for that particular school. You can use specific programs that you are excited about or an extracurricular activity such as rowing if it is strong there. Showing this type of match will prove you have thought about your choice.
Emphasize What Makes You Different: Colleges look for students with potential. Yes, students from elite private schools will be chosen, but they also look for those from varying backgrounds and unique situations. Make yourself standout.
Apply Early: By using the early admissions option to schools, you increase your odds on getting in. The downside in many cases is that by doing this it locks you into that school if you are accepted under an early program. This is great for those students who know exactly what school they want to attend, but for those who are not as committed could wind up in a school they are unsure about.
Do Your Research: It is helpful to “know” the school you are applying to. Students should educate themselves on where they stand in terms of class rank as well as SAT and ACT results. Pay a visit to the school or schools you are thinking about. Yes, this can be a tad costly, but it is the best way to see and learn more about the school.