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Top 10 Tips for Applying to College

Updated on October 5, 2017
DollyHale profile image

Dolly is an undergraduate student attending public university to study Political Science and History.

Applying for college is stressful, here is my brutally honest advice for tackling your applications.

1. Everyone loves a sob story:

Most college applications make potential students write an essay, sometimes even a few. In my experience the prompts generally have one thing in common, they want you to tell a story. It's no mystery that a sad story will pull on the heart strings and therefore make a reviewer more favorable to your application. What makes for a better story- conquering through a hardship or winning your soccer game?

2. Don't neglect a double check:

You're going to look like a total dork if there are spelling errors in your app. This school could potentially be your home for the next four years, don't take there application lightly. Proof read your work!

3. Use your resources:

On the topic of proof reading, reach out to your friends and family to edit your application- especially your essay. If you're tight with your English teacher ask them too. I did this and my teacher helped me out a lot! (Trust me, teachers love helping kids with this kind of stuff!)

4. Be as punctual as possible:

Most colleges are going to accept your application well into the second semester of your senior year. But, why wait? If you can knock out some applications over the summer, do it! It will give you a competitive edge if you apply early, you'll look like you're excited about that particular school.

5. Don't take your GPA lightly:

This is the #1 thing I regretted doing while applying to college. I sent in my application to the school I attend currently during the October of my senior year and got accepted almost immediately. Come the end of my senior year and my cumulative GPA had gone up tremendously, but I did not reap the benefits of a higher merit scholarship because my GPA at the time of my application was locked in forever. Major bummer, I missed out on a couple thousand more dollars worth of scholarships. So, if you think you can bring your grades up even higher, wait until second semester to send in your application.

6. In regards to SAT and ACT:

Be proactive and look up the scores colleges will accept for SAT and ACT results. I originally took the ACT and got a 25, then spent $100 to retake it and got a 26. My college would have taken the 25 to begin with, so I basically blew $100 for no reason. This is a time when 'good enough' is literally good enough, don't waste your money! No one cares about your standardized test scores after you take them, I don't care if you got a 500 or a 1500 on the SAT.

7. AP Tests:

My best advice, TAKE YOUR AP TESTS! It makes you look amazing on applications and you get college credit for them! I walked into college with a semester already done because of my AP scores. (I failed my AP Chemistry exam, but made up for it with all my other tests.) The $90 you have to pay to take the test is nothing compared to the average $1,000 to take the course in college.

8. Everything happens for a reason:

It sounds cliche, I know. But, seriously chill out. Everything is going to fall into place. Your hard work is not going to go unnoticed. I have found that when putting positive energy into the world the world gives back. Breathe.

9. Believe in yourself:

If you think you can get into that school, get into that school! If you are passionate and have worked hard the college will recognize that. But, also be okay with not being completely sure. There are thousands of kids who walk into college uncertain about their future. Be patient, you'll know what is right when it comes about.

10. Get ready for the best years of your life!

Anyone who honestly says, "high school was the best four years of my life!" are either just sad or lying to you. Compared to college, high school is a prison (and I loved my high school experience!). Just wait. The classes are more fun, there's more time for recreation, and no parents breathing down your neck all the time! It's going to be amazing.


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