‘Ti(p)s the Season for College Applications

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‘Ti(p)s the Season for College Applications

By Lexi Lee, News Editor

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With college application season coming to an end in January, winter break is the ideal time to finish polishing up those regular and second early decision applications. Before you hit submit, here are a couple of last-minute tips to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward with your apps.

  1. Check your spelling!

And then check it again. One of the most obvious turn-offs for a college admissions officer will be any spelling mistakes that you might make. Unfortunately, spelling mistakes are also the easiest mistakes to make. Misspelled words will detract attention away from the overall message, or worse change the meaning altogether, so be sure that you spell everything correctly.

2. Review the application requirements

The application requirements vary per school. Does the school you’re applying to require test scores to be sent? Or are they self-reported? Do you need two letters of recommendation or is one okay? Do you need to complete SAT subject tests? These are all questions that can be answered by simply visiting the admissions section of your college’s website. Save yourself from stressing out the day your application is due and look up the requirements ahead of time.

3. Have a friend look at your work

Or a teacher, parent, trusted-adult, etc. After writing and rereading the same things over and over again, your brain becomes accustomed to the content, making spotting mistakes more challenging for you. A fresh set of eyes will be able to pick out mistakes or areas of improvement, all while ensuring your work is at its prime.

4. Read your essays out loud

Having someone else review your application does help, but if you can’t find a willing person, read your essays aloud to yourself. This will allow you to hear the flow of your essay and many times, if something doesn’t make sense, you’ll be able to pick that up better than simply reading it because you engage both your auditory and visual senses.

5. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes

Though it may be hard, try to complete your application while viewing it objectively. If you were another person reading your application, what would they think about you? What kind of impression do you hope to leave on the admissions officer? Find that focus and goal, and keep it in mind in everything that you write. Does the essay you just wrote convey yourself the way that you want to be seen? If the answer is no, it’s highly advisable that you change it.

6. Avoid cliches and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine

Admissions officers want to get to know you, not some made up persona that you’re putting on for them. It’s easier to detect ingenuity than one might think, and admissions officers are pros in doing so, it’s practically their job. Be yourself in your essays. If you’re writing about something comical, don’t be afraid to make it funny! That being said, try your best to avoid writing about cliches. Find something that makes you stand out from the crowd to write about, and chances are, your application will stand out from the others.

7. Schedule an interview

See if interviews for your school are even an option, they might also be mandatory. If they are optional, consider signing up for one. Interviews are great opportunities to demonstrate your interest in a school, show them an even more personal side of you, and also learn more about the school for yourself.

8. Breathe and be confident

It’s so easy to get caught up in your insecurities about not getting into college and through comparing yourself to other people. Remember, you are your own person. As long as you are putting your best self forward to the admissions officers, you have nothing more to stress about. It’s an intimidating thought, but as soon as you hit that ‘submit’ button, the decision is no longer in your control. It is an admissions officer’s job to craft a class that best fits their school, and they know their school like the back of their hand. Trust in them and the fact that they may be doing you a favor by rejecting you because they think you’d be better off at another college. In the end, we will all end up where we belong.