First I’d like to preface that I’m not a college application expert. Not even in the slightest. But there are some things from this whole college application experience that I learned that I wish I knew beforehand. College applications can be stressful and you want to do all you can to reduce your stress and not drive yourself crazy. So here are my top five college app tips to help get you ready for the crazy whirlwind that this process is (in no particular order).
Get your essay done before school starts
One of the most stressful things for students during the college application process is to come up with their essay. And rightfully so. An essay to describe your entire personality and make you look appealing to college with a word limit of 650 words? That’s hard. This is why it’s important to start planning ahead. The school year is jammed-packed with work and it’s hard to find time to plan this very important essay. That’s why you should really start planning it and even writing it in the summer. This gives you all the time you need to make all the necessary edits you need before you have to submit applications in the fall.
Keep track of your deadlines
It’s hard to remember which parts of the application are due when, when you need to turn in certain forms, when you need to send in test scores, etc. This is why it’s very beneficial to create either a spreadsheet or an overall list of all the deadlines you have so you can keep everything straight. It’s impossible to remember everything, so that’s why it’s important to have something with all the information in one place.
Get another set of eyes to read your essays
Supplemental essays are exhausting, especially if you have to do a lot of them. At one point, they seem to all sound the same. This is why it’s important to have someone read over your writing. What sounds good to you might be too repetitive or confusing for someone else. Even if it’s just one other person, make sure essays are edited and make sense before they are submitted.
If you don’t understand how to fill out a certain question on the application or are confused about something, ask questions! Don’t assume you know the answer because you don’t want to mess up your application. WJ’s College & Career Center is so helpful and willing to help if questions arise. Utilize the resources you have and use them to your advantage!
Don’t let other people stress you out
There’s always going to be someone further into the process than you are or doing something that you aren’t. There’s no point in stressing out over it. Just focus on you and make sure your application is the best it can be! College applications seem like a giant competition between you and your peers, but it’s important to stay focused on what you’re doing and not let other people distract you from making your application the greatest it can be.
Good luck to everyone working on college apps this fall. We got this!