The application process is your opportunity to showcase all of your accomplishments from high school.
Show how you can contribute to a college campus.
- A rigorous high school curriculum that challenges the student and may include AP or IB classes.
- Grades that represent strong effort and an upward trend. Slightly lower grades in a rigorous program are preferred to all A's in less challenging coursework.
- Solid SAT and ACT test scores. These should be consistent with high school performance.
- Passionate involvement in a few activities, demonstrating leadership and initiative. With extracurricular activities, it's depth, not breadth, of experience that is most important.
- Letters of recommendation from teachers and guidance counselor that give evidence of integrity, special skills, positive character traits, and an interest in learning.
- A well-written essay that provides insight into the student's unique personality, values, and goals. The application essay should be thoughtful and highly personal. It should demonstrate careful and well-constructed writing.
- Special talents or experiences that will contribute to an interesting and well-rounded student body.
- Demonstrated leadership in activities. Colleges want people who will arrive prepared and willing to take leadership of student activities and events.
- Demonstrated intellectual curiosity through reading, school, leisure pursuits, and more.
- Demonstrated enthusiasm to attend, often exhibited by campus visits and an interview, showing an interest toward attending the college.
- Apply early. Keep track of all deadlines and make sure your application is submitted with time to spare.
- Focus on neatness and completeness. Be sure to proofread everything. You don't want to misspell your street name, for example.
- Optional means opportunity! Submit optional essays or supplemental material.
- Ask your teachers for recommendations. It's a good idea to give them an activity resume to help with this. Be sure to give them plenty of notice.
- Prepare for interviews. Think about what you want to say and questions you want to ask. This is a time to allow the admissions officer to get to know you. Make it count!
- Demonstrate your interest in the college by visiting, e-mailing or calling the admissions office. Be sure to always leave your name, number and where you are from.
- Don't forget to submit the FAFSA early in January of your senior year. Some colleges may also require the CSS Profile.
- Apply for scholarships. Look at the college websites for opportunities.
- Be authentic. Colleges want to learn more about you. This is your chance to shine.
- Find and describe a specific moment that helped shaped the person you are today. Show colleges how an experience has made you grow as a person.
- Capture the reader's attention.
- Do NOT let anyone else write your essay and be careful with having it edited. Admissions officers want the essay to be from the student and can often tell when there's too much outside influences.
- Be real. You do not have to write about how you changed the world! Be true to yourself. It's okay to show disclose failures and talk about what you learned from them.
- Show passion!
- It is not too early to start working on your personal statement.
- Don't neglect the shorter, supplemental essays on the application.
- Make sure you proofread all essays. They should be free of spelling and grammatical errors.