22 Aug 3 Exclusive Tips for College Application
A great college application consists of many parts. If you pay attention to details, each part can contribute to making yours the best possible for you.
Here are some of the parts of the college application that you should keep in mind as you start the process:
Letter of Recommendation
Many of the highly selective schools ask for recommendation letters along with your college application. These recommendation letters are used to provide admissions officers with greater insight into who you are as a student and a person; showcasing skills, interests, and achievements not apparent from just your report card. Many a times, in a pool of similar applicants, LOR makes the difference who makes it above the cut line. For this reason, you should do the best you can to get a great letter of recommendation. This might seem to be counterintuitive, “what can I do for a great letter of recommendation, when I’m not writing it and can’t see it?” Well, there’s actually plenty you can do on your part to make sure you get the best one possible.
To get a great recommendation letter, it is important to know when, how and who to ask. Knowing when to ask is easy; ask now – the academic year has just started. Asking early is important because teachers write tons of letters for their students, so asking early provides them with ample time to craft the best possible letter. It also enables the teacher to do a quality job. Do not forget to give your CV and some background in your email about your interaction with this particular teacher, so that they don’t have to think much about who you are and what to write. In addition to improving the quality of the letter, asking earlier usually means that you’ll receive it earlier. If you are applying to schools with early action or early decision, then it is necessary to secure that letter of recommendation by the application deadline.
The next important part is who to ask for the recommendation. The ideal teacher is the one who knows how good of a student, as well as person, you are. Someone who can describe why should you be the student that a university or college should admit. If they can mention how you added value in their class, colleges can see how you would add to theirs as well.
Course Credits and Equivalency
If you are looking to challenge yourself, AP or IB courses during your high school years are great choices. Not only these get you used to the college rigor, many of these can give you college credits. Taking these courses demonstrates to the colleges that you are ready for their coursework. Also, some of them satisfy prerequisite courses in college.
In addition to taking on such courses, make sure to look at other classes you’ve taken, even ones that aren’t designated as AP or IB. Some high schools have regular classes that are equivalent to college courses. A couple of good indicators of an equivalent class, is if you are using a college level textbook or if you feel that it was unusually challenging. Generally, your teacher or school counselor would mention if that is the case. Once you are admitted to a college, their course equivalency officer would need to confirm, but it is worth keeping in mind.
Personalizing Application for the College
It’s never too early to start reviewing your college application, especially if you have specific colleges that you are interested in. During senior year you’ll discover that the time passes by with a blink of an eye. As soon as possible decide the colleges you are interested and learn about their mission and values and decide if they align with yours. If you are confused about what that means, existing students in those colleges can help. Once in college, students have a clearer idea of why they were chosen and what the college looks for in the incoming students. While there are common things that all colleges look for, like the qualities of learning and adaptability, there are also specific things that each college looks for. The existing or recently graduated students can give the best sense of what they are. As much as possible seek these students to get feedback on your application.
You can also consult an EduPeer college mentor who can help with parts of college application or help you through the whole process.
We wish that you can find support through family, friends and mentors to have a college application experience that is efficient, enjoyable and gets you to your dream college.