What to Consider for College Admission
For many students, college admission is a major stress factor in their junior and senior year of high school. For others who are just now going back to school or trying to get into graduate school, there are even more factors to worry about if they do not make it into the program that they want. There are also other issues to consider when getting into college, such as financial aid and student services that you may be neglecting during the application process. The best way to navigate college admissions is by being prepared for all the surprises and also planning for how to meet all of the deadlines that are associated with getting into a college.
Look for the College's Checklist Online
Many colleges will offer a checklist on their online web page for admissions. The checklist will give you an idea of what to do first and what you need to complete the admissions process. In general, you need to start by getting your transcripts from high school or another university prepared to send to your new university, which means that you'll need the name, address and school code of the university. Then, you need to apply, either in person, online or by mail. Applying online to a university is the quickest and most effective way to make sure that you are admitted in time for the right semester. During the admissions process, you should have written an essay and gathered all of your information, including explanations for any misbehavior or bad grades in the past. Once you have applied, you may need to also apply for financial aid and register with the school's office of admissions.
Understanding the Most Important Pieces of the College Application
There are several parts to a college admissions process. The college application will focus on your grades, standardized test scores, personal statements, teacher recommendations and other written statements that explain lapses in education or experience. The importance will also depend on the program that you apply to. For example, if you apply to a Fine Arts program, your grades in Core subjects may not matter as much as your portfolio of artistic work. Standardized test scores may also be more important than grades. In general, if you feel that you have low grades or test scores, you can possibly retake a standardized test or explain your grades in the personal statement. Much of admissions is based upon your personal statement.
Stay Organized During the Application Process
You should constantly be saving all of your work and filing it appropriately so that you can quickly find the information later. You want to first save all of your application usernames, PINs and passwords in one place. Then you can easily gain access to check your status and look at any requirements that you still need to add to the application. You can use a program called Naviance or a master charter to track all of your application requirements for deadlines, test scores, recommendation letters, transcripts and essays. You can track the completion and submission of each, which will allow you to see what you need to still submit once you've finished. You can also create a calendar to make sure that you are meeting deadlines or also that you have received information back after applying, in case you need to contact a school to see if you need to send in more information.
What Impacts Admissions Decisions
There are several factors to consider when applying. Academic excellence is a key point in the admissions process. If you have a high GPA and good test scores, you can still fall short if you don't do well on the personal essay and give a good reason for picking a college. You should pick something about the college that you found to be unique and that will help you with your program of choice. Specifically, if you are picking a program that is highly competitive, you will need to write an even better essay that focuses on your experience with the subject, any future goals and why this is the program of choice for you. The ability to pay is also considered, though privately. If you are able to receive financial aid, you will likely still gain admittance. There are some students who will not be accepted based on their ability to pay or not to pay.
Other Dos and Don'ts for College Admissions
Don't generalize your personal statement. Focus on what makes you a more personable and likeable person, rather than saying you have nice intentions or what your goals are, really focus on giving a background look at yourself and why education is important to you.
Spell Check everything. Spell check can really help you during college admissions. Nothing is worse than bad punctuation or spelling errors to an admissions committee. Think about it. There are so many applications. Your spelling errors will definitely set you apart from other people trying to get into the college—and not in a good way.
If you have a specific topic, you still need to answer the question for the personal essay. You should also avoid statements such as "And that's why I want to go to your college" or something similar—this is overdone and generic.
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