There are few things as nerve-wracking as the college application. Submitting your grades and test scores, going for interviews… they all seem to pale in comparison to filling out that daunting application. You want to present the best version of yourself, while still maintaining your originality. You worry about grammar and punctuation. You stress over word counts, and wonder what to include and exclude. You end up agonizing over every question, and compulsively making sure you’ve correctly spelled your own name.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The college application doesn’t have to be some overwhelming mountain that leaves you with nightmares. Crawford Academics has a few simple tips that will soothe stressed students and make the whole experience a lot more pleasant.
Start Early: Give yourself plenty of time to get all the information you’ll need. Don’t hold off until the last second. Trust us, the earlier you start applying, the better it will be. This is your future; don’t procrastinate. Make a time table of when you want to accomplish certain parts of the application, then stick with it. If you need help, a college advisor can assist in creating a workable college application plan.
Be Enthusiastic: Colleges want to feel like your excited — about their institution, about your education, and about the future. Don’t force enthusiasm (believe us, they can tell); instead, pick topics that you can really talk about for your essays. Be passionate. Let them see the things that matter to you. Your focus and drive will impress them, and make you a memorable candidate.
Be Creative: Don’t write a cookie-cutter essay; colleges have seen literally tens of thousands of those. Instead, write something that is uniquely and singularly you. Show off your skills, your passions, and your dreams; share your personality. Be funny, be enthusiastic, and think outside the box. Use your essays as a chance to really speak out and portray the best version of yourself to the college. The topic itself doesn’t need to be earth shattering (we’ve had kids write a beautiful essay about why they are like their favorite pair of sneakers!) just a vehicle for you to tell your story. A well-written and original essay will do a world of good for your chances of acceptance.
Check Everything Twice (At Least): Don’t just whip out an essay and hand it off to the college of your dreams. Read it. Reread it. Have friends read it. Ask if it’s clear, if it answers the questions asked, and what they think. If your writing skills are a bit shaky (or you just need some constructive criticism), you can always ask a college advisor or tutor to help you smooth out the rough edges. Colleges care about punctuation and grammar, and they’ll notice if you didn’t give the essay your full attention. This can apply to your entire college application; make sure you didn’t leave anything off. Double check that your recommendations are in order, your transcripts are in place, and that you didn’t leave any blank spaces. Take your time — this is one form you can’t afford to mess up on.
Submit Early: If you’ve done everything right and stuck to the timetable we mentioned above, you should be able to submit your application ahead of the crowd. Don’t rush (after all, that sort of defeats the purpose of starting early), but if you finish everything with a few days or even a week or two to spare, go ahead and submit. This will show the schools you are interested and organized, and will prevent you from second-guessing and stressing out. While your friends are scrambling to meet the deadline you can congratulate yourself on a job well done.