Putting together all the information necessary for college applications can be a daunting and confusing task, especially if you’re applying to more than one place. Educational institutions can differ in their enrollment criteria and require different exams and transcripts. Fortunately, the process of preparing for a college application does contain a certain amount of uniformity, and every student can start researching what needs to be done early on to avoid rushing things close to the announced deadlines.
There are a few areas where it’s prudent to prepare in advance:
Building a Resume for College Applications
High school should not be about arbitrarily signing up for classes that might sound interesting. Ideally you will want to include some really challenging subjects in your program, as well as filling your list of electives with meaningful classes that pertain to your interests and future plans. College interviewers are looking for students who are not holding back in pursuing their respective field of interest, and they tend to steer clear of those who only do the bare minimum. It is by building an impressive resume that you will be able to convince them of your worth as a prospective student. This doesn’t always mean being in all the AP classes and having perfect SAT scores: There is a lot of value in showing that you had a plan, and that you cared enough that your coursework and extracurricular activities reflect that.
Checking in with the counselor
It is doubtful you will find another person who’s capable of answering all of your college-related questions and concerns, but some students don’t take advantage of this readily available resource. The beauty of your school counselor is that he or she has seen and heard it all, and chances are if they don’t know the answer to something, they know where to find it. These are people whose sole working purpose is to make your life easier by assisting you in any way, but you will probably have to ask.
Mastering time management
As with most things in life, college applications are all about timing. Many students leave applications for the last few weeks before the official deadlines for a variety of reasons – inability to settle on a major or college, failure to factor in the time it takes to get school transcripts sent out, scholarship hunting not going as planned, etc. This is, by far, the biggest mistake you can make, and can be the difference between enrolling at your dream college and settling for your safety school. The easiest way to avoid this is to simply make a calendar and be sure to input all important dates, deadlines, exams and events you need to stay on top of to ensure a timely response. The more your organize, the better your chances at getting in without any fuss or stress.
Picking out an essay topic
Your essay topic will probably change several times from your first choice, but that’ s not necessarily a bad thing. If you start brainstorming this matter early on you will have plenty of time to mature through various themes and subjects you feel are appropriate. Often what we once thought was descriptive of our personality is something we grow out of only to discover something else that fits better. After all – it’s the essay that will either make your application stand out from the rest, or fail to make an impression, so you want to ensure it works in your favor. Having plenty of time to explore various topics, re-read and re-write will help you gain the necessarily objectivity to evaluate your work on its real impressionistic and academic value.