Applications are up, and acceptance is down. That’s not news; it’s the way things have been. So what are your chances for gaining admission to a college of your choice? Well…not great, but there are always ways of helping along a college application and improving those chances.
Here are some tips for improving your application to college from College Basics:
1. Hone your essay – The college application essay really counts. Absolutely make your essay the best it can be.
• Get a proofreader,
• Make it enjoyable to read,
• Make sure you’ve written what will allow any reader to get to know something about you,
• Use specific examples,
• Make sure you write yourself as a likable person. You want an admissions officer to put your essay down and say: “I like him.” Or “She’d be a great person to have on our campus.
2. Set yourself apart – What makes you different? Do you have unusual talents, experiences, interests that no or few other college applicants have? You need to emphasize your differences. Even geographical diversity helps because colleges want people on campus that represent all parts and places of the country. This is when coming from the “boonies” could be an advantage.
3. Do an on-campus interview- Even if the college materials say an interview is optional, still make an appointment for an interview on the campus. It’s a chance for you to express interest in the college. Make sure you prepare well, like it’s your first job interview. Research the school’s website, practice, and don’t make any arrangements that are last-minute.
4. Get Good Test Scores – The best way to have good tests scores is to take both the ACT and the SAT multiple times. Many colleges today average all your highest scores and don’t care how many tests you take or how often. So, increase your chances for higher scores by retaking the tests.
5. Apply to your parent’s college(s) – Legacy applicants have about a 20% advantage in getting admitted to their parent’s college.
6. Be an athlete – Schools are looking for players. If you are in a sport and can play for the college’s team, you have an advantage. If the coaches of that college team actually recruit you, it’s just as good as adding 300 points to your SAT score.
7. Apply for Early Decision – Early Decision admission rates are 2 to 3 times higher than that of regular applicants. Schools want to accept people who show a commitment to them.
8. Show interest in the college you apply to – If you show a college you will likely attend, they are more likely to admit you. They want yield, that is, they want students they accept to actually come to the college so they tend to admit people they think will come and are not just going through the motions. To show interest you can
• write a supplemental essay about a program or certain aspects of this college you are interested in,
• maintain an email correspondence with an admission officer, but without being a pest,
• visit the school and be sure to sign in on their guest list at admissions,
• get on their mailing list, and
• apply for Early Decision.
9. Go over you application before sending it in – Check for any mistakes or for mixing up one college for another very carefully. Also proofread for spelling or grammatical errors.
10. Keep up the good work throughout your senior year – Take challenging courses, get good grades, and don’t slack off during your senior year. A good senior year helps applicants, especially if admissions is either on the fence about them or if they wait list them.