College Applicant Survival Tips (Part 2)

Hey friends, I’m back (after falling asleep in the middle of uploading this late last night anyway :P), and as promised, here is the second half of my list of college application tips.  If you haven’t read it, my last post contained tips about the college search process in general; this one will give you more detailed advice on filling out applications in particular.

  1. You will be asked what activities you’ve participated in, and/or to provide an academic resume or list of volunteer service, awards, work experience, and other activities, including the dates you were involved.  It’s helpful to have a spreadsheet or list stored somewhere with a record of everything you’ve done along those lines, and when you did them. Then, instead of having to reinvent the list and hunt down the dates every time an application asks, you can just grab whatever info is relevant from the main list and alter descriptions or whatever as needed for a particular application.
  2. This is kind of specific, but, if you don’t know what your major is yet and are tempted to pick a random one for the application, just go with “Undecided.” You can switch majors later of course, but you’ll be admitted under your choice and probably talk to the advisor for that major during orientation, so there is more significance to that question than it might look like when you just need to put something on the application to access the next page.
  3. You will be writing a lot of essays.  If they aren’t your strong point, I’d recommend reading the CLEP College Composition Guide or something.  If you’re serious about your applications, you (hopefully) won’t regret it.
  4. Here are some common essay topics if you want to think about them now:
    1. Your interests and passions.  What’s something you dream of doing?  What are your life goals?  How do you want to improve society? How did you decide on your current career interests/choice?
    2. About the school.  Why do you want to attend this university?  Why are you applying for this scholarship?  How do you personally demonstrate the ideals of Person-This-Scholars-Program-Is-Named-After?

And last but not least, I’ll leave you with this.

  1. Get plenty of sleep.  Yeah, I know, it’s what everyone says, but aside from the health benefits for their own sake, getting enough sleep can have an impact on what scholarships you get and such. Getting enough sleep = better mental ability and higher ACT/SAT score = more acceptance letters and more scholarships.

That’s everything I picked up through the process (or at least everything I remember).  If you have more tips you think should be here, feel free to add them to the comments.  And good luck applying!

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