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College Application Tips No One Told You

If you're getting ready to start your college applications, do you know how to begin? If you aren't in a program that helps guide you through the application process, it may feel stressful. Here are some helpful tips for before and during applications to better prepare yourself for success.

Visit Schools You're Interested In

Though this takes place before you sit down to complete applications, it can greatly inform which ones you finish. You may have a large list of schools you like, but a visit to the campuses may change your mind about a few of them. It's also a great way to see what you like, from size, location, and diversity. This will ensure you're applying to the best schools for you.

Use The Common Application

This resource allows you to search for more than 800 schools and add the ones you want to apply to a centralized place. The Common Application links you directly to the school's application and features useful lists like the Requirements Tracker that helps make sure you have everything you need for each individual application. This way, you'll have a hub for all of your active applications instead of checking on each of them separately. For more information about this resource, visit

Write New Material for Each School

While this will probably seem tedious, it will make all the difference on your applications. Admission officers will be able to tell if you're using a cookie-cutter template where you're simply swapping out college names. They see essays like these all the time and will quickly spot out the ones that aren't genuine. Essays are your chance to use your voice to tell the board why you deserve a spot in the incoming class. This is something GPAs, SAT scores, and other measurable data cannot do. Take the time to write your essays and your chances of admission will naturally be higher.

Demonstrate Character in Every Application

You're told to have the grades, the volunteer hours, and great SAT scores. What you may not have been told is that admission officers are wanting to see who you truly are beyond the data. While others may pride themselves on these metrics, they may be lacking in authenticity. As you fill out each application, really think about why you want to attend the school. What is it about your personal interests that make it a great fit for you? Officers want to see that you've got some substance to you that will add to the student body. Maybe you've got a hobby that isn't a sport or club that you're passionate about. Or, maybe you've accomplished something great outside of school. Explain these unique things about yourself and you'll definitely stand out.

Submit Early

Admissions officers comb through a large number of applicants, so it's a smart move to prepare ahead of time. By opting for Early Admission, you also make yourself appear eager and committed to the school you send applications to. This will allow you to get the hard stuff out of the way and finish out your senior year strong!

When in doubt as you fill out applications, stay true to who you are. Your true character will shine through, which is what will make you memorable.


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