College application season is always a busy time for students. Between essays, test scores, and letters of recommendation, there’s no doubt that you have a lot to keep track of. If it’s getting down to the wire and your regular admissions deadlines are approaching, don’t panic. There are a few college application tips that every student can use to fine-tune their application and ensure that they are standing out for all of the right reasons.
What Things Stand Out on a College Application?
Applicants always stand out when it is clear that they have done their research about the school to which they are applying. It’s important to demonstrate what kind of impact you want to make on campus, the school’s unique characteristics and opportunities that excite you, and the kinds of classes that you wish to take. And of course, it’s always important to be as genuine and authentic as possible.
How Can I Improve My College Application?
Make sure you read over your work, ideally several times. It can also be beneficial to share your written responses with someone else so that you can ensure that they are easy to follow and that they reflect your voice. Remember, admissions officers want to get a sense of who you are, so don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.
6 College Application Tips for Applying as a Regular Decision Applicant
Seniors: many of you may still be anxiously awaiting a decision on your early application, but don’t forget that you should continue working on your Regular Decision applications! Here are some Regular Decision college application tips to help you wrap up those final applications and get ready to hit “submit!”
Working well ahead of deadlines is good advice in general, but remember that deadlines aren’t just for you. Gather any application materials needed from outside sources well in advance. You are likely not be the only student asking a particular teacher for a recommendation letter, for example, so it’s important to give your teachers enough time to think about and write a carefully crafted letter.
You may also run into technical difficulties, like with the Common App, for example, so be prepared and avoid last-minute submission troubles. Get your applications done well in advance so you have time to troubleshoot and contact the admissions office should you be unable to submit.
Treat Every Application Like it’s For Your Top-Choice School
It’s perfectly normal to have your heart set on attending your top-choice school, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect the applications for any of the other schools on your list. Hopefully, you chose them because you did your research and determined they were all good-fit schools. Put the same amount of time, research, detail, and dedication into every application.
Personalize Your Supplements
The school-specific supplements on the Common Application, particularly the “Why This College?” prompts, provide a great opportunity for you to demonstrate your interest in the school and your knowledge of the institution’s programs, campus community, and academic offerings. Make sure your supplements are as detailed and customized as possible.
Check for Spelling and Grammar Errors
The last thing you want is for a few careless errors to take away from a well-written essay, so ask a teacher or guidance counselor to read it over. This is also important because spell check might not catch simple mistakes. You don’t want an admissions officer to read about how you spent 10 hours a week “torturing” students when you really meant “tutoring.”
This is common sense and yet it is one of the most common mistakes students make on applications: read instructions carefully and double-check before submitting. Heed suggested word counts, finish all components as instructed, and submit all materials the way the school specifies.
Know What is Required (test scores, recommendation letters, transcripts, etc.)
One of the most important college application tips we have is to make sure all materials required are ready to go well before deadlines. Release ACT, SAT, and other standardized test scores to colleges, make sure you have requested your high school transcripts and that they have been sent to schools, and be sure that your teachers and counselors have completed your recommendation letters. If you are submitting other materials, like art portfolios or audition tapes, make sure they are completed and properly addressed. Some FAFSA deadlines fall before applications are due, so ensure everything is submitted by their respective due dates.
What Things Look Really Good on College Applications?
Many students wonder what’s going to actually set them apart during the college admissions process. Ultimately, there isn’t a single factor that can make or break your application. The most important college application tips students can use are to follow all of the application instructions, strive to get the best grades and test scores possible, and convey their passion for attending the college to which they are applying.
It’s never too late to get additional help, even if you have already submitted early applications. Our team of expert counselors is here for every phase of your admission journey. Whether you need help wrapping up your Regular Decision applications, increasing your chances of admission after a deferral, or even reassessing your goals after a rejection, IvyWise is here to help!