It’s time to get to work. Stay ahead of deadlines and work at an easy pace. Start by opening the Common Application. Then, follow the tips below and avoid the #1 gaffe in college applications—errors! You can do a perfect job if you just take the time.
- Read all the directions. Read from the top of every page all the way to the bottom. Pay careful attention to the specified word count and character count. Writing too much may result in a truncated essay!
- Don’t rush and always “save.” Using the Common App or other online applications gives you the advantage to “save and continue.” You can do these applications a little at a time. Whenever writing an essay or short description, be sure to write on a Word or Text Edit document and save in your College Folder, then upload or paste into the box provided. You’d be surprised how many students “lose” all their work at some point while applying. Be sure to spell check, print out, and carefully edit everything you write.
- Deadlines. Failing to get your work in on time is a criminal offense in the college application process. Late is as good as denied. Keep a calendar and stay far ahead of deadlines. Don’t “send” at the last minute and dare the power to go out at 11:59! (If you are mailing, allow two weeks. No kidding!)
- Attitude. Procrastinators, give yourself a pep talk. By applying to safety schools first, you’ll find it easier to get started. If you include a rolling action school, you might hear back in just a few weeks! Then start working on the more competitive schools. Not applying ensures that you won’t get in. Don’t talk about it, just do it. And do your very best job!
- Grammar and spelling. Admissions counselors have seen it all: candy strippers instead of candy stripers. Signers instead of singers. Succor instead of soccer… The best way to double check is to read your writing aloud. At Perfect Fit we have our students read everything to us. When the words hit the air, the mistakes are clear!
- Do it yourself. Mom and Dad want to help, but please don’t let them do your writing for you. Parent-written essays are easy to spot by everyone in the business. Your voice is precious. It is “you” on paper. Make sure to do all the work and all the writing. Then, take all the credit!
- Your brag sheet. Write a list of everything you’ve done in high school. You were present of the BSU and assistant editor for the newsletter. You placed 3rd in the science fair and volunteered at a senior center. You were an altar server and got your Gold Award. Write it all down and have your parents add to it. They often remember honors that you might have forgotten. Sort through the list and put the most impressive items at the top!
- Manners. Use a professional email address, please. It makes a difference. Check your Facebook page for inappropriate pictures or quips. Answer all emails from admissions counselors and print out any personal letters to you. Write hand-written thank you notes after you visit schools or request recommendations. Your manners become you!
And find small ways to enjoy this most wonderful year of high school. The application process will soon be over, but your friends will be around all year!