Since you and thousands of other high school seniors are working on your college applications, I thought that I would offer some helpful tips to navigate this time. Here are my top five tips on getting through the college admissions process!
- Give yourself enough options. While it’s good to be selective about the colleges to which you apply, you don’t want to have any regrets or “what if's” when May rolls around. My younger sister, a current college freshman, told me “I wish I would’ve applied to more schools.” Don’t go overboard, but don’t go underboard either.
- Get organized. Make a calendar ahead of time with hard deadlines. And it might be helpful to impose some deadlines on yourself to make sure you’re on track for all your colleges. I remember when I was a senior in high school, some of my most organized classmates had separate folders for every college on their computers, and organized other files within that folder. Also, I like to use Google Calendar because you can change the colors of the events, and it works on your phone and laptop.
- Look up the requirements for your major at each school. Some colleges require more math or science courses for a certain major, some require language classes and some don’t, and some have other requirements (like theology and philosophy) that aren’t major-related. It’s good to know exactly what you’re getting into, and you can use this information in your supplemental essays.
- Finish your Common App by the end of September. You don’t want the most important essay hanging over your head as you’re finishing up supplemental ones for individual schools. Work with a college counselor, a parent, or a friend who’s good at writing to help you craft an essay that will speak to your personality and goals. Write it, edit it, and let it rest.
- Try not to listen to other people’s opinions. At the end of the day, you are the one enrolling, so don’t let people’s opinions or reactions influence your decision. What’s best for you, is best for you!