Tips for the college admission process

Tess Dorman, Staff writer

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Well class of 2020, the dreaded college application season is finally among us. This can be a stressful time for all of us, and we’re all bound to have some questions. Hopefully, I will be able to help answer some of your burning college application question!

How do I begin the application process? 

     It’s a good idea to check the application requirements of the colleges you’re applying to. Obviously, every college will want to see your test scores and grades, but some colleges require an essay or a letter of recommendation. A college’s application requirements can be easily accessed through their website. Once you know what you’ll need, you can make a checklist for each of your applications. Make sure to also check the application deadline as well.

How many colleges should I apply to?

The college board recommends applying to five to eight colleges. You should be happy to attend all of the colleges you apply to. It’s a good idea to apply to some colleges that are a bit of a stretch for you and some that will likely admit you.

Should I even bother applying to a college if my grades or test scores are below their published ranges?

Yes!!! The GPA and test scores that colleges put on their websites are just averages or ranges, not cutoffs. There are many students at every college who scored lower than the numbers shown. Colleges consider more than just your test scores and grades! They look at the classes you take, the activities you’re involved in, your letters or recommendation, your essay, etc. Colleges are looking for students with special talents and strengths that will contribute to their diverse campus community. Grades and test scores are only two parts of the whole picture.

Who should write my letters of recommendation? 

     A letter of rec should be written by a teacher that knows you pretty well. It’s a good idea to choose a teacher that you have a good relationship with. In addition, it can be helpful if one of your recommenders teaches a subject related to your intended major.

Should I send in optional materials?

     Yes!! Always send in optional material. This gives the admission team an opportunity to learn more about you.

What should I write about for my personal essay?

     You should write about something that’s meaningful to you, like your “story” or your passions. Some ideas include:

  • Who are you?
  • What challenges have you overcome?
  • What are your future plans?
  • Any lessons you have learned over the years?
  • Describe a period of personal growth you experienced.

What’s the difference between Early Decision and Early Action?

     Early decision is binding. If you’re accepted early decision, you must attend that school. If you don’t have a clear first choice, don’t apply early decision. Early action is non-binding, if you’re accepted, you don’t HAVE to attend.