You’re a senior..finally. You’ve ordered your class rings high school seniors buy to commemorate their achievement and you’re envisioning your senior prom outfit. BUT, WAIT! You have your college applications yet to do. Before you begin completing your college applications, it will help you to review the basic tips provided here to prevent application overload.
Start early! Give yourself plenty of time to produce a stellar final product. You want a winning application, not one that looks harried and rushed.
Have the following pieces of information on hand before you start to fill out your application. It’s not a bad idea to save this information on a card or in a computer file.
Your social security number
Father’s name, address, date of birth, and occupation
Mother’s name, address, date of birth, and occupation
Father’s college, degree, and date of graduation
Mother’s college degree, and date of graduation
Siblings, age(s), and college(s) attended
Grade Point Average; Class Rank
Test Scores (SAT I and II; and/or ACT)
Extracurricular activities (prioritized in order of importance)
Honors and awards
Counselor’s phone and fax number
Your work history
Name of employer
Make a copy of each application and use it as a draft. Transfer the information from your draft onto the official application so that you will have an error-free completed application.
TYPE your application! Now that the Common Application and many specific college applications found on websites come in both online versions and hard copies in PDF format that you can download, type on the screen, and then print out, there is little excuse NOT to take the time to make your applications look professional by typing them. If there is an occasion when you can not type an application, be sure that you print neatly and legibly using a pen with black ink.
Complete the supplemental information section of your application, even if it is described as “optional.” Although this section might necessitate an additional essay, it is important for you to show the admissions committee your motivation and diligence to go above and beyond the normal expectations. The extra essay might further enhance how you have positioned yourself in your application, or it might provide you an opportunity to explain a special circumstance that should be addressed.
Include all required materials before mailing your application packet. Even online applications require off-line materials. Be sure everything gets submitted! For example, if a school requires a graded paper in addition to the regular college essay, don’t forget to include it! Many colleges have unique requirements that must be fulfilled before your application is considered. It is your responsibility to know what the requirements are and for you to fulfill them.
Similarly, it is your responsibility to check with your teachers and guidance counselor to make sure your teacher recommendations and school report, transcript, and testing score results are submitted before the deadline. Make a checklist!
If you are applying online, be sure to submit your application well ahead of the deadline. Websites are known to crash and have technical difficulties from time to time, especially when too many people are using the site simultaneously. Don’t push your luck and wait until the last minute to submit your application online only to find the server is down because of an overload problem. If this happens, you will miss the deadline. Don’t ever let this happen!
If you prefer completing a paper application, make sure to mail it well ahead of any holiday to avoid problems due to slow mail and delivery. It is a good idea to send your packet via certified mail so that you get confirmation and a record to prove it was delivered on time.
Remember, your application is not only a portrait of you, it also gives a first impression of you. Make it shine!