Archive | November, 2012

5 Tips to Make Your Application Sparkle

5 Nov

Make those applications sparkle!

Picture this: You are a college admissions officer and you have hundreds of applications to review this week alone. Most of the faces behind those applications represent seniors who have a lot to offer — with leadership responsibilities, great grades, decent test scores, and a long list of athletics and community service. How would you choose?

To make your application stand out, do the following:

1. Make it error-free. Proofread your application carefully. If you have to put in grades for the classes you have taken, make sure they are absolutely correct. If you have essays or short answers, have an adult look them over to make sure they are spotless. Carelessness speaks volumes about your character.

2. Make your essay unique. Universities are looking for leaders. Use specific anecdotes to  demonstrate your leadership characteristics. Humor is good, as is subtle metaphorical language. The essay should not be a journalistic list but a window into your best qualities.

3. Keep in touch. On the university’s website, find the admissions office’s contact page and locate the specific officer’s name who is responsible for your school or geographical area. An introductory, short email, phone call, or even a visit could bring your application to the top of the pile. On one of the college tours on which I have taken students, we stopped by the admissions office, so one of my students could introduce herself. The woman said, “Just let me go check on your application and see if I need anything.” A few minutes later the woman came back out into the hallway and told my student, “Congratulations! You’ve been admitted!” A personal touch helps to put a face to the paperwork.

4. Do the max. If you have the opportunity to submit supplemental materials, DO! Newspaper clippings, photos, awards certificates, recommendation letters–all of these can document the claims you are making about yourself. Of course, if the university does not want these materials, do NOT send them. Additionally, if an application gives you the opportunity to “Provide any additional information about yourself that you would like” . . . YES, write that extra little essay and make it sparkle — but don’t let it be a simple reiteration of what you’ve already provided.

5. Hustle on follow-up. If you find out that a college is sending you to a second round of review and emails you a list of additional information to provide, do that work immediately. This could involve a series of several mini-essays that are a lot of work. Ask a counselor or teacher to review these for you. What you provide will be pivotal.

In other words, present your absolute best work, so that you have your best possible chance.