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10 tips for college applications

A checklist you should know before submitting your college application essays.

Deadlines+are+fast+approaching%2C+SMCHS+seniors+are+working+on+their+application+essays+and+getting+ready+for+their+college+journey.
Deadlines are fast approaching, SMCHS seniors are working on their application essays and getting ready for their college journey.

Deadlines are fast approaching, SMCHS seniors are working on their application essays and getting ready for their college journey.

Amanda Zou

Amanda Zou

Deadlines are fast approaching, SMCHS seniors are working on their application essays and getting ready for their college journey.

Amanda Zou, Photo Editor

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No doubt, the college application process is stressful. Maintaining a good GPA, striving for scores on standardized tests and meeting college applications deadlines at the same time is a lot to handle at once. But don’t panic, here are 10 tips that can help you make the process easier.

Do’s:

  1. Give yourself time to brainstorm- Read the prompts early and give yourself a week or two to brainstorm. Developing your theme for the essay is always the most important step. Write down your ideas during your brainstorm period and choose the one that can best answer the prompt in the end. Don’t rush through the brainstorm process because you might miss the perfect idea.

  1. Outline the essay and start your editing from there- After having an idea, outline your essay with major points that you want to write about. Because of the word limit, you only have room to write the most important parts of your story, so start your editing when you finish your outline.

  1. Save your longer drafts- There will be a bunch of editing and cutting to do toward the end. Before tweaking the essay to fit the word count, make sure you have a longer version with great detail. You should save the longer drafts for the future when you have a similar prompt for another school’s supplemental essay.

  1. Be concise- Because the word limit is so restrictive, you should eliminate the fluff in your essay and go straight to your main idea. Include as much content as possible in your essay to answer the prompt. However, it is a good idea to add a big picture comment in the beginning or use it to sum up at the end.

  1. Be honest- Avoid putting any activities that you didn’t do in your application. Also, don’t write about an imaginary self or something that you wish you should have done. Be confident that what you did over the past four years will show your best self.

Don’ts

  1. Repeat yourself- When filling out applications or writing essays, make sure you don’t repeat your thoughts. In the application, real estate is valuable and every part of it should tell something new and different about yourself.

  1. Ask easily answered questions- When visiting a college or asking a question through email, make sure you do your research first. A well thought out question can show your interest.

  1. Let your parents lead your thoughts- Remember, you are the one attending the school for four or more years. Don’t let anyone lead your thoughts, including your parents. Do your research on the school, visit it and ask yourself if it would be a right fit for you. The next four years will be more meaningful if you spend them at a place you truly like.

  1. Give colleges what you think they want- There are so many repetitive ways of writing a personal statement. For example, the meaningful mission trip, or the important game you won. College admissions read tons of these unoriginal essays every year, so think of something different. They are a lot more interested in unique experiences.

  1. Use the same essay again for another school- When two different school’s prompts are similar, many students re-use their essays. It might make the process easier, but you should make the essay unique for each school. Demonstrating true interest and care can make a difference on your chances.
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