College applications are a bit overwhelming to say the least. Between sending in your ACT/SAT score, working to maintain your grades, perfecting the essays for the applications, keeping up with the deadlines, and the overall stress of whether or not you will get into the school you want is a lot. And while maybe it was just in my head senior year, it can be difficult to stay on top of it all. Your potential of getting into the school of your dreams shouldn’t be determined by the fact that you missed the final date to apply because you had confused it with the date your senior scrapbook page was due. In today’s post I’m hoping to give you tips on how to stay on top of your applications in the overwhelm that is senior year and include some insider tips that I learned after being accepted.
When you begin the college application process, all kinds of dates are thrown at you. Once you get these dates, make it a habit to write down the dates in a place that you will see them. Typically you should write down what day the application opens, what day the applications close and then any dates that the college or university might give you such as when you can begin signing up for orientation, what dates you can sign up for classes, and any other information. One of my close friends applied to several universities and gave each university a different color in her planner so that she could easily differentiate between the schools.
Apply on the day applications open.
Unless the first day that applications open is early admission or early acceptance, apply the first day applications open. Benefits from applying early, depending on the university, can include being among the first freshmen to select your dorm room or even being one of the first freshmen to sign up for classes. And as a freshmen the upperclassmen have already had their pick of dorm rooms and classes, so take any benefit you can get.
Have a folder on your computer to save application essays.
This is one of the best tips a close friend of mine gave me before I began applying to colleges. She advised me to write all of my college applications in separate Word documents and save them based on what the question was that they answered. This way, I could easily find the essay I was looking for when I was filling out an application for another university and edit it as needed. While typically universities don’t ask the same questions on their applications, they typically ask very similar questions so you can easily edit a previous essay to fit the new question.
Don’t lie about or boost your GPA.
One of the number one mistakes people make when applying to college is lying about or boosting their GPA. If you have cumulative GPA of 3.647, then you cannot round it up to a 3.65, it must stay at a 3.647 or a 3.64. While yes, it does seem a little on the intense side, if your GPA does not match what is on your transcript that your high school sends to the universities you applied to you risk not getting accepted because it will be seen as a lie.
Apply even if you don’t make the automatic acceptance requirements.
What surprised me that most when I hear people talking about why they did or didn’t apply to a university is when they tell me that they didn’t apply to a school simply because they didn’t have the ACT/SAT score for automatic acceptance. The university that I currently attend had an automatic acceptance requirement one point above what I had scored on my SAT. One point. Whether you are off by one point or more, still apply! Even if you end up not getting accepted, you at least know you tried.
Apply to more than one school.
Personally, I had my heart set on one school. I had dreamed of being able to attend since I was a sophomore in high school and there was no convincing me to go elsewhere unless I ended up not being accepted. With the majority of students already waiting until the last minute to submit their applications, you are definitely risking it when you only send in one application. Even if you only apply to two schools, apply to your risk school/dream school and then apply to a school that you know you can get into so you have the ability to have a school to fall back on incase things don’t go as planned.
Have a back-up plan.
I touched on this a little in the topic above, but have a back-up plan. Sadly, things don’t always go as we planned and we have to find an alternative solution. So just in case anything happens, have a plan you can fall back on. I know it isn’t the most fun thing to think about, but it is definitely something that needs to be thought about.
Are you a senior applying to colleges? If so, what do you tips to you hope to utilize from this post? If you are already in college, what tips would you add to this list? I would love to know in the comments below.