For high school seniors, applying to college can be overwhelming. From choosing colleges and writing admission essays to completing standardized test requirements, there’s a whole list of activities to be completed for getting into your dream college. This is why it’s important to get organized before you officially begin the process of applying for colleges. In this article by Best Ed Lessons, we’ll explore a range of helpful strategies for students planning to apply to colleges.
1. Make a Note of Deadlines
The best first step towards organization is to note the application deadline dates of all colleges you plan to apply to. Typically, applications close a few weeks before the start of the semester. However, the earlier you apply, the better, as colleges often enroll students on a first come, first serve basis.
Additionally, make a note of special requirements for any or all applications. From there, you can start determining when you can submit each application and the time needed to gather supporting documents.
2. Enroll for Standardized Tests
American College Testing (ACT) and Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) are two prominent standardized tests accepted by all major private and public colleges across the United States. The goal of these tests is to evaluate students on their understanding of key concepts across the disciplines of math, science, and language. Colleges use standardized scores as a supporting factor for evaluating students. Your aim should be to get these tests as early as possible, as this provides you the advantage of re-taking the examination if your scores are not up to expectations.
3. Draft Your Application Essay
Writing an essay has to be one of the hardest parts of the application process. A great essay provides a balance between your personal achievements and the reasons why you’ll be a great fit for the program. This not only requires time and effort but includes an element of research as well, about the college, faculty, and alumni.
View your essay as the best way to stand out from the competition. While others may have similar grades, what they don’t have is your experiences and story. Hence, the key is to represent yourself as the best candidate who will bring value to your courses and be successful post-graduation as well. You want to show that you are:
- Intellectually Inquisitive – This describes someone who has developed an interest in something and has tried to learn more about it by research, experiments, or other effort.
- Accepting of Differences – Simply put, this indicates that you are receptive to fresh perspectives. You value the lessons the environment around you has to offer.
- Dedicated to Growth – This expresses your commitment to growth, wherever it may lead.
Additionally you should use keywords in your essay that help tell your journey and will also work to organize your resume or CV.
- The ideal keywords capture who you are as well as a passion or academic interest.
- Colleges are less interested in finding remarkable skills than they are in finding more common talents and objectives that you articulate with extraordinary clarity and charm.
- Your keyword selection need not be extraordinary. Simply said, they must be memorable.
- Read essay examples uploaded by students
- List all important points, such as marks and awards
- Write a draft and share it with parents and friends to gain feedback
- Make required changes until your essay is the best it can be
4. Update your Resume
A resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a 1-2 page document that provides an overview of all relevant information regarding the candidate (you), such as:
- Details about your educational credentials
- Job history
- Extracurricular activities and awards
When it comes to writing about your job history, list positions chronologically from the latest to the oldest. Additionally, only include relevant points that cover your scope of work, notable accomplishments, and names of software/strategies you used in your role(s).
If you’re struggling to create a resume or Curriculum Vitae, here’s a free template for a CV that will fit well with your application.
5. Consider an Online Degree
Now, more than ever, colleges across the country offer students the chance to pursue their degrees 100% remotely. This option provides various benefits such as:
- Savings on the cost of transportation and housing
- Flexible schedules
- Reduced the need for taking student loans
For instance, earning a bachelor of education online can save you upwards of $10,000, which would have gone towards renting a home and other expenses such as traveling and purchasing meals, as reported by Debt.org. Additionally, you’ll still be learning underqualified teachers, developing required expertise in your field, and having greater resources to spend towards future degrees, whether it be a master’s or a Ph.D.!
Applying for college is no small undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming either. With careful organization and preparation, you can ensure that all applications are submitted on time. Using the CV template will no doubt make this process easier. Additionally, remember to consider remote degrees as they provide the benefits of convenience and lower costs.