What to Know About Applying to College:
Applying to college feels daunting to everyone. Not only do you have to think about where you want to spend 4 years of your life, you also have to put your best writing forward. You have to find a way to make 250 words prove to a committee that you are worthy of attending their school and that you are worth a spot. This is a really big deal and to help you out, we have some tips that might make this process feel less daunting and scary, and might help you manage this stage of your life better.
- Reuse your applications! When it comes to writing so many supplement essays for different schools, you can reuse a lot of them. A lot of schools use similar essays, and sometimes they might even be the same. Before you start a new essay for a new school, you can go through the essays you have already written because you might have something that is exactly what you need. This will save you time and energy from writing a whole new piece for yet another school.
- Apply early to as many schools as possible because it’s better to have too many options than too little! Applying early will let you know where you are going earlier in the year and with some schools, you will have a higher chance of getting early than you would in the regular application pool. However, it is important to understand the policies of applying early to each school because you don’t want to accidentally commit to a school you might not actually want to go to just because you applied early.
- As mentioned above, the whole concept of applying early is confusing. Early action is different than early decision. Early action is regular decision, but earlier. Early decision is a binding contract (you have to go if you get into the school.) Therefore, you can only apply to one school ED because if you get in, you have to go.
- Be careful about who you ask to write your recommendation letters! It is important to pick a teacher to write the letters who knows you and can speak to your ability as a student. If you want to study a particular subject in college, it is a good idea to have a teacher of the same subject in your high school write your letter. The more letters you can get, the better.
- It is O.K. to get deferred – don’t freak out! People usually take this as a rejection, but it really is not. If they didn’t want you, they would have rejected you. Being referred basically indicates that they want more information about you and will take a second look at your application before letting you know what their final decision is.
- Once you are into school, it does not mean you should slack off from your academics. If your good grades go down after you are accepted, the school can revoke your admission to their university. It is better to be safe than sorry, so don’t let your grades slip just because you have your acceptance letter.
- You don’t need to take the SAT a million times. Once you have a decent score that will be good enough for the schools you are applying to, you are fine. Stats prove that taking it over 3 times won’t increase your score that much. Going off of that, make sure you are taking the right test for you. Some people do better on the SAT, and some people do better on the ACT. Figure out what works for you and which test you do better on.
- Don’t tell people all of the schools you are applying to! This creates stress and drama for no reason and no one needs to be more nervous about this process than they already are. Going off of that, don’t ask people for their top choices. Your friends are nervous enough as it is. If they want to tell you, they will.
- Finish the Common App at the first opportunity you have. You already have a lot on your plate and you should get as much out of the way as possible to make the rest of the applications easier. You will not regret getting this out of the way early.
- If you don’t think you want to go to that school, why waste your time applying there in the first place? It’s a waste of your time and money and you don’t even see yourself there, so why would you do it?
- Don’t apply to a school just because your friends are. If you don’t see yourself going there, there is no point of wasting your time on another application. Save the time!
- Look into the school before you commit. Try to meet people who go there and ask questions. Try to visit the school or go on a tour of the campus if possible. The more you know about the school, the better. You should know what you are getting into before you commit.
- Know what you are looking for in a school and try to stick to it. Know the kids of academics you want to study, if you want to be in Greek Life, if you want a warm or cold climate, etc. 4 years of your life is a lot of time so it is important to know as much about the schools as you can before going there. Make a list of what you like and what you don’t like and try to stick to it as much as you can.
Good luck everyone!