This is it. The time has come for you to begin seriously considering what your college prospects are. Not only will you need to decide on a major, but you’ll also need to decide which colleges and universities you’ll be applying to. Depending on the schools you choose, application fees can be pretty steep (and most are non-refundable). Because your college application is so important, here are a few of my favorite tips to ensure yours catches the reviewer’s eyes for all the right reasons.
- You can never start reviewing your application requirements too early. Even if you’re only a high school freshman, the internet makes it easy to have a look at what types of information you’ll need to fill out on your future college application. Consider it as great practice since today, most college applications are submitted online. Additionally, if you have your heart set on one school, in particular, reviewing their application and essay requirements early enough to check all the right academic blocks, collect the required letters of reference, and craft a compelling essay is in your best interest.
- Attention to detail. Before you fill out a single line – even your name – read all the application’s instructions. Your application is a digital representation of you and the type of person you are telling the school you are. Whether on the application itself, or in your essay, sloppy oversights in spelling, grammar, or erroneously checked and overlooked blocks don’t speak well toward your ability to pay attention to or execute directives.
- Speaking of details, provide all the required details and information. By the time you are done filling out your application, there should be no blank spaces left. Unless a digital form doesn’t allow you to do so, questions or blocks that don’t pertain to you should be marked as “Not Applicable, or N/A.” In doing this, you are demonstrating your thoroughness and ability to follow instructions as well as giving yourself the peace of mind in knowing you haven’t overlooked any important sections or requirements.
- Transcript preparation. Any colleges or universities that you apply to will require official copies of your high school transcripts. Obviously, they won’t be ready until after your graduation, but informing your guidance counselor and the administrative services at your high school can help ensure your transcripts are sent to the right higher learning institutions in a timely manner so as not to hold up your application and acceptance process.
- Print or make copies of EVERYTHING. Whether you submit your application online where you can print your submission confirmation, or you are mailing a hard copy to the registrar’s office, keep copies of everything in a safe place – like the same place your parents keep their important documents (including the payment receipt associated with your application).
Following all these tips won’t guarantee your acceptance into the school of your choice, but it will help you look a lot more worthy as an applicant than other wannabe collegiate students who submit error-ridden and sub-par applications.