8 Essential Tips for Applying to College

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  • For students with exciting career ambitions or those who wish to increase their chances of finding a well-paid job as an adult, going to college is a great idea. However, there are many different steps to take to before successfully applying. Here are eight essential tips for anyone who is applying to college.

    1. Get Started Early

    Many colleges have early action and early decision deadlines as soon as November of the year before you attend college. Early decision applications tend to be binding, which means you must attend the college if you are accepted. Early action applications are more flexible. If the deadline has already passed, don’t stress; the regular decision deadline is usually a little later, but make sure to look it up and get your application in before it passes.

    2. Be True to Yourself

    You don’t want to spend your entire college career pretending to be someone you’re not. In preparing applications, be sure to participate in extracurricular activities that you enjoy and to research and apply to colleges that offer programs, activities, and majors that you will thoroughly appreciate. College should be a time of exploration and learning more about yourself, so start by remaining true to yourself during the application process.

    3. Keep Deadlines in Mind

    Deadlines are imperative. People who cannot meet deadlines or are constantly asking for extensions will find life quite difficult in college. By starting on the application process early, you can be sure to easily meet deadlines. Write them down in a prominent place as a constant reminder. Missing an application deadline can set back your college attendance by at least a semester if not an entire academic year, so meet those deadlines!

    4. The College Wants You to Be the Right Fit for Them, Too

    Colleges look at whether you are someone who would fit in well with them. This is why it’s important to apply to schools that appeal to you. These institutions want someone who will contribute to their environment and have a great chance at succeeding. Don’t be alarmed if you receive a rejection letter or two; sometimes some schools just aren’t a great fit, and there’s probably a better fit for you out there anyway.

    5. Research the Schools Thoroughly

    If you get accepted to a school, go to the campus and explore. Audit a class, if you can. However, it’s also important to inspect possible housing options, crime rates in the area, transportation options, and reliability of the faculty. Don’t forget about specific program requirements, which may differ from general college application requirements.

    6. Maintain Communication

    If schools offer interviews, take them. After the interview, send the college representative a thank-you note. Subscribe to email lists to stay on top of college information. Stay in touch with the school until you know if you are in or out officially. Maintaining that communication and follow-up could boost your chances of acceptance.

    7. Complete the Application Yourself

    Your parents have supported you your entire academic life, but college is different. It’s time to handle things on your own. It’s fine to go to mom and dad for advice and feedback, but make sure to complete each step of the application process—including researching the colleges—firsthand.

    8. Be Smart About the School You Ultimately Choose

    Choosing a college is a commitment, so it’s vital to select one that will be a good fit for you. You may get many acceptance letters, so be wise in your final decision. Thoroughly following each of these tips should help to make your college life much more enjoyable.

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