There are few things as overwhelming or stressful as applying for college. While it can feel like your entire future hinges on your success or failure, it’s important to keep perspective and remember that there is no perfect school and that most students can thrive in a variety of different environments.
That said, anyone with their heart set on a particular school or program should be aware of how competitive the process is, and how essential it is to be both prepared and proactive while you’re applying to colleges. It can be tricky to know what the best ways to prepare are, especially with so much conflicting advice. If you’re overwhelmed or worried about falling behind, read on for three ways to stay on top of your college admission process.
1. Organize your application materials.
Most students apply to more than one school, and mixing up your application materials is a completely avoidable mistake. Sending the wrong essay to the wrong school is a surefire way to make sure you’re not accepted. Even when working on drafts or looking for a place to store brochures and information, coming up with a storage system early is a good idea.
Using custom printed pocket folders to separate your application materials by the school is a great way to avoid losing track of your documents. Whenever you need to go back and reference something, you’ll have everything related to each application in the same place.
2. Talk to a counselor.
While applications can seem straightforward, everyone can benefit from professional advice when applying to schools. Using college application counseling can give you a significant advantage in the admissions process. A college counselor can give you a clear idea of what schools you’re most likely to get into and how to prepare applications that match what they’re looking for. They can also give you useful guidance for interviews and admissions essay topics.
When the margin between two qualified candidates for admission can be razor thin, you should try to give yourself every possible advantage to stand out. Services like tutoring for standardized tests, counseling services, and interview preparation can end up being the difference between acceptance and rejection.
3. Follow up with interviewers and admissions representatives.
It’s always good to make sure that people remember you in a positive way. When alumni or staff report to the admissions office, you want to make sure you’ve left a positive and lasting impression. Make sure you send an email or even a handwritten note to anyone you come into prolonged contact with during the course of an interview or a campus tour at a school you want to attend. While these small interactions aren’t likely to be the deciding factor in your application for admission, people may also be more likely to respond and offer advice or help you after you’ve been admitted.
If there’s one area where you have to be meticulous, it’s on your college applications. When decisions can come down to the smallest differences, attention to detail is essential. Even though it’s an important part of your life that you should take seriously, don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get into your first-choice school.
Do your research and make sure you give yourself a couple of options to choose from where you feel comfortable. However, students dead set on attending schools like Stanford or Yale will need to start preparing early and invest a meaningful amount of time in the process if they want to achieve that goal. Once you submit all your applications, you can relax and take comfort in the knowledge that you put your best effort into the college admission process.