You’re applying to college? I got you! This post is about college application tips that get you into your dream school!
I know that applying to college can be tough, and there are hundreds of things you need to think of when filling out those questionnaires and writing those statements. I’m here to help!
In this post, you will find my 10 best tips for applying to college successfully.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase via my link I may get a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend things I use and love, but for any questions, refer to my full disclosure here.
1. Start Early
There is nothing worse than being under time pressure for college applications. You want it to be the best it can be, so please give yourself the time to start early.
Knowing your deadlines is so important and will make the process much easier for you. For example, I started my applications as soon as they were out, but give yourself at least a month for it, not even talking about the grades you should request in advance of that.
Related Post: Applying To College As An International Student
2. Read Everything Carefully
Make sure to read everything carefully! It’s easy to misinterpret instructions, especially when it comes to application essays and statements. If you’re unsure, ask a friend or family member how they understand a phrase before assuming what it means.
You don’t want your college application to be rejected because of an interpretation mistake, so make sure to read everything carefully.
3. Look For Application Waivers
Applications to US universities cost about $50-$100 each, and they are due after completing the application, so make sure you keep that in mind!
To help cover those costs (they add up!!), there are application waivers you can get different places. I found one on my college’s Instagram page (after I applied though lol), but sometimes people share them in Facebook Groups as well. Search for them!
Related Post: 10 Ways To Pay For College Yourself
4. Be Thorough
One of the most important college application tips is to be thorough and not leave anything blank! It’s much better to be honest and answer a question that way, than just to leave it blank.
To admission committees, that can look like you rushed through it and didn’t pay attention, which isn’t quite the impression you will want to make.
5. Request Transcripts Ahead Of Time
As soon as you know what college you want to apply to, request your high school transcripts! Depending on where you live and where you want to study, they can take a while to ship, so this is very important!
I am an international student, so my transcripts had to be shipped overseas, which took a lot of time. This might not be the case for you, but make sure to plan ahead.
Related Post: The Ultimate College Packing List For International Students
Your essay can be the best story, but if it’s full of errors you won’t get admitted! Make sure to proofread your essay or personal statement, and then have it someone else proofread for you.
I personally use Grammarly for the first step, since it’s great at detecting those little grammar and spelling mistakes. You can check out Grammarly for free here!
Another tip that can help is to print out your essay. Sometimes that makes it easier to read and detect errors.
7. Ask For Recommendations In Time
Teacher and counselor recommendations aren’t something to leave for the last minute either. Make sure to ask them if it’s okay for you to send them the link before you do it! You don’t want them to be confused or think it was a mistake.
Here is a little checklist for getting recommendations:
- Ask 2-3 people for recommendations even if you only need 1 or 2, some teachers just forget it
- Send them the link far ahead of the deadline
- Thank them after, maybe even send a thank you card
8. Spend Most Time On The Essay
Some colleges may require more than one essay, but there will always be a main one!
Make sure to craft the essay strategically to convey the message you want! It’s also super important to stay honest and truthful. You don’t want to get caught lying!
What I wrote my essay about is why I chose the major I did. My major is Entrepreneurship, and I wrote about my story of how I started (and failed) business ideas as a kid and teenager and how I have a vision with the degree.
While I only applied to 4 colleges, I got accepted to all of them, which is a good sign I guess!
9. Don’t Add Every Single Thing You’ve Done
Another one of my best college application tips is to NOT add everything you’ve ever been involved with in your school journey.
Instead, make it cohesive and only add things that fit into the picture of how you’re portraying yourself. What I mean by that? Well, it’s much more attractive to admissions officers to have someone be super involved with one single thing instead of tons of allrounder students.
For example, I wrote my essay about wanting to have my own business. For my extracurriculars, I have added things that relate to that, such as my blog, YouTube channel, etc. But also, I added one sport I’ve done in high school to show my involvement and mentioned that I love traveling to explore new cultures and meet people to network with for my future business.
You see how those tie together? If I was to list everything I’ve ever participated in, I’m not sure if my message would’ve been as strong.
10. Contact The Colleges
This step is last in this post about college application tips! Contacting the colleges right after you submitted your application can be very beneficial, as you should confirm if your application has been received. Sometimes tech fails, and sometimes documents don’t go through.
So, send each college an email to confirm they received it, and ask them to contact you if anything else needs to be supplied.
These were my 10 college application tips! I hope they helped you perfect your application, and if you have any questions leave a comment below or contact me on my socials!
Eve Mitchell says
Thanks for the tip about asking for recommendations in time. I’m trying to apply for colleges right now and it’s super stressful. I think I might try to hire someone to help me.