If you have yet to go through the college admission process, this article should come in handy because I am suffering through it now, and I am more than happy to give tips on how to avoid a college admission meltdown. You really don’t expect college admissions to be this ruthless but there is a lot of pressure and a little time, which is why this is known as the most stressful period of the senior year. No matter how prepared you think you are, you find yourself lost in the process. So read on so you know what to expect from the college admission process.
1. Make a List of Your Schools
If I had the chance to start the college admission process again from scratch, I would start narrowing down my college list during the summer of the junior year. You might think that college admissions are way too far in the future to worry about during that time, but trust me you want get an early start as soon as possible. Make sure to solidify you college list with reach, target and safety schools. Once you are 100% sure about your list you can move on to the next step!
2. Decide on Which Process You Want to Take
If you are familiar with college apps you probably know that there are three types of admission processes: early decision, early action and regular decision. Early decision is a binding agreement with which you can only choose one school that you badly want to go to. If that school does accept you, you are obliged to go to that school no matter what. Early action is similar to early decision because of the earlier deadline but it is not binding so you have the power to make a choice. Regular decision has a later deadline and no binding agreement.
3. Research Your Dream School
If you have a dream school already in mind, make sure to research every aspect of it. You might find things that can change your mind and make you unsure, but on the other hand you might reinforce your decision. Just make sure you know everything about the school and their admission requirements before calling it your ‘dream school’. This information might even help you write the supplemental essays for that school.
4. Become Familiar with Common App
In a nutshell, common app is a widely accepted way of applying for colleges. If you don’t know much about it, it is important to become familiar with every detail or find someone who knows it like the back of his or her hand. Eventually you will use this website to do most of your college application and if you don’t know how to navigate it, it might be a problem. Commonapp has changed its format this year, which is why it has crashed so many times, so it is extra crucial that you know how to work with it.
5. Start Writing Early
Personal essays and college supplements are a big part of your application. They can push an admission officer from a maybe to a yes, so starting to work on it early can be very beneficial. Giving yourself a couple of weeks to finish everything off will only stress you out and cause a breakdown, so start writing early to avoid a writer’s block.
6. Talk to Your College Counselor
If you are anything like me and your parents or siblings never went through the US college admission process, you are probably clueless about where to even start. This is why it is crucial to gather as much information as possible. If you have a college counselor in your school, make an appointment and ask everything that you are unsure about. Showing initiative and gathering information is the only way to get everything done because nobody else will bring the information directly to you.
7. Be Aware of Deadlines
One of the ways to remain organized and stress free is by writing down the deadlines for every college application and financial aid opportunity. This way you will be aware of how much time you have and what you have to do next. College application is all about staying organized and completing each part, step by step. Keeping a calendar will prevent you from forgetting important aspects and procrastinating.
Hopefully these tips will help you avoid college admission meltdowns and prepare you in the best way. Once you know what to do step by step, you should be fine! What is your dream college that you are planning to apply to? Share in the comments!