Admissions

My Experience: 5 Crucial Points for A Successful College Application Process

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The college application process can be a little scary for most high school students. I know it was for me, but being better prepared for what is going to happen will help make completing the applications more accessible.

While there are a number of steps involved in the process, these five are among the most important. There are many other resources out there to help assist with the finer points. For now, let's have a look at the things that really make or break the process and affect the odds of getting accepted.


1. Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses

When looking at schools, I had to get really honest with myself. What were some of my biggest strengths and weaknesses academically? Into what programs did my strengths fit the best? In which ones would my weak point prove to be obstacles? I eliminated several schools from the list based solely on what I knew about myself as a student.

I then started compiling a list of talents, abilities and activities I'd participated in, volunteer work, community service, etc. Some schools look for things like civic-mindedness and community involvement as part of the screening process.

2. Compile a List of Colleges Where You Want to Apply

Based on what I learned compiling those lists, I chose five schools that had the kinds of programs I wanted and to which I had a good chance of being accepted. My top picks also had the best programs for my desired major.

3. Deliver the Best Possible Essay

The college application essay is an essential part of the process, and if it isn't perfect, it could make the difference between getting in and not being accepted. It would be a good idea to ask for help to proofread it. The cost is low and will uncover mistakes that would otherwise get missed.

4. Check, Double-Check and Triple-Check

Before sending, I proofread everything in the application packet repeatedly. I scanned for any kind of error from a typo in the essay to a question I might have unintentionally left blank. I knew that all my applications had to be complete or they might not even have been considered. Many schools have digital scanning tools that pre-check applications for obvious errors and will flag the ones that haven't been prepared with care. I did not want that to happen with mine.

5. Submit Before the Deadline, Follow Up and Confirm

Deadlines for college applications are typically between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15. Early admission deadlines can be even earlier. What does that mean? To put it plainly, there is no time to procrastinate. As a huge procrastinator, I can offer this friendly warning: Get started early. Late applications are not even likely to be considered, and you'll waste the application fees.

Once your applications have been submitted, check your application portals to track all of your materials. If any materials appear to be missing, contact the school in question and confirm that your information has been received.

I found the portals to be really helpful, and I was able to revisit a couple of applications and tweak them before they went before the admissions boards.

“I Got in!!”

If the entire application is complete and well-presented, it is likely that you'll be saying this more than once by the time the various boards have finished their evaluations. I got into two of my top picks in no small part because my applications were complete. If you want similar results, be sure of what each school expects and do your best to deliver the best possible application (and deliver it with time to spare).

Jennifer Lockman graduated from UCLA majoring in journalism and works as an essay writer. Her expertise includes general education, e-learning, business, writing and lifestyle.

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