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5 Things I’ve Learned Applying to College

funny mad girl student with glasses shouts with books in the library

Getting accepted to college is stressful. No matter what anyone says, you’ll still stay up late at night trying to figure out how to express your best self in the applications. All soon-to-be high school graduates do. Apparently though, the statistics is on their side. More people get accepted to college than not. Here’s what I’ve personally learned while applying to various colleges.

1. Expect the unexpected
Standard questions cover GPA, after school activities, and candidate’s background. Those are fairly easy to answer. However, many colleges like to keep students on their toes and include unorthodox questions in their application forms. That is why it’s a good idea to do some research before hitting the apply button.

2. Get ready to do some writing
Many colleges require you to submit additional examples of original writing. Sometimes you can get away with an old essay that you’re proud of, other times you will need to present your thoughts on a specific topic. In any case, you probably won’t be asked to come up with more than 250 words.

3. Learn the difference between Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular Decision
Different schools might use different terms, but the point remains the same. You’d be asked to choose between these options. Early Action and Decision, as the names suggest, are applications with earlier deadline. The Decision one is binding in case you get accepted, so it works really well if you’re only applying to one school. Regular Decision has a later submission deadline.

4. Don’t question your own actions
While filling out applications I was so nervous, I’ve googled every second world just to spell-check. And on one hand, you don’t want to lose your chance in the school of your dreams because of a misprint, but you also don’t want to punish yourself for every badly turned-out phrase. If you’re too stressed out, take a break and return to the task later.

5. Look into apps that help you apply
Some people use apps to work on their applications. There’re even schools, such as the University of Denver, that have developed specialized apps to help their potential students apply. The process should be more streamlined with the help of these resources.

6. Find out what letters of recommendation you might need
People tend to forget that recommendations from counselors and teachers are an important part of the application process. Try to get to know and inspire people responsible for writing your letters. Start communicating with them early so they have something to write about!

7. Spend some time on the college website
You’ll be aware of the latest news and any unexpected changes if such happen. You can also look at pictures and imagine your future life on campus while waiting for the decision to be made.

So, application to college will challenge not only your academic success, but also your creativity and persistence. Just focus on your goal and keep trying!

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