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October 31, 2013

Quick Tips for College Applications

by Ruth Chung

 With the early application deadline November 1 coming up shortly, seniors applying to colleges are becoming more frantic as the date draws nearer. Ensuring ACT or SAT scores are turned in on time, getting transcripts sent to respective colleges, and adding final touches to application essays, these last few days can be a stressful time.Although ideally, everything should be turned in before these last few days, here is a simple checklist to ensure you get things in on time, as well as a few tips to help you through it:

1.     Make sure ACT/SAT scores are turned in ASAP – it takes a few days for these scores to be sent and processed. According to counselors, unless there is a gaping difference between your best and worst score, it is better to turn in all your scores. The more colleges see, the better it is—even if some scores might be lower than your highest one by a few points.

2.     Send or upload transcripts. Grab a transcript request form from the counselor’s office and turn it in! Again, ideally this would be done sooner because it’s not guaranteed that the transcript can be sent in on such short notice.

3.     Fill out the actual online application. This usually calls for detailed family information and school grade reports. This can be done within a day or two as long as you have a copy of your transcript!

4.     Write the essays. This can often be the toughest part, however it is very possible to accomplish. While writing, keep clarity in mind. Colleges like essays that are straightforward and to the point, but also essays that incorporate creativity. Use the most unique parts of who you are to highlight the message you want the college to pick up from your essays. An important thing to remember is that rewriting is vital. Although first drafts might seem “perfect” at first, rewriting can help make essays a lot more concise to fit the word count approximation while also incorporating the individual elements that make you, you! Asking somebody such as a teacher, parent, or mentor to read over your essays and tell you what they gain from it can also help a lot in ensuring you wrote what you meant to say. Often when are working on a piece for a long time, our thoughts can get jumbled up and things can come out the wrong way.

Although this might seem such a stressful time, don’t let it kill you too much. There are many parts to this application process; however remember that when taken one step at a time, it is very possible to conquer! One of the biggest things I remind myself personally during this process is remembering that doing my best is all I can do. The rest, regardless of negative or positive results from desired colleges, is out of my hands. So keep these deadlines in mind and continue to put forth your best. And after all is said and done, let it go and don’t stress out! The colleges that come back with positive results will be the ones you know are truly the best fit for you.

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