Applying to college is often a very involved process. Not only do you need to obtain and produce several documents, but you also need to take care to follow all of the guidelines while at the same time making sure your best self always shows through.
What makes the process even more stressful is the fact that you often encounter conflicting advice when researching application strategies. Well, take a deep breath, relax, and just be sure to follow the uncontroversial suggestions below and you’ll have the best chance of getting those acceptance letters.
Applying as early as allowed by the institution can only help your chance of getting in. Many schools in Florida have early application deadlines where the acceptance rate has been documented to be higher than the regular application deadline. Even if there is no early application deadline, there is no way to be certain that there is not some internal deadline that the admissions department follows that would be helpful for you to get your application in before. Also, having your application reviewed as early as possible will give you and the school more time to send in something you might have forgotten to include initially.
Do the Optional
There are often optional parts of an application package, for example an essay or recommendations from teachers. Do yourself a favor and complete anything that is optional. The reasons for this are twofold. First, simply by doing something you don’t absolutely have to do you are showing that you are willing to go above and beyond, and are not likely to be a lazy student. Second, including something that lets the admissions staff know more about who you are increases your chances of getting in. Of course don’t think it’s OK to submit a mediocre essay just because it’s optional!
If you have previously failed a class or stopped participating in a sport or volunteering, don’t think the people reviewing your application just won’t notice. As long as you explain why something happened it won’t be that big of a deal and there is much less of a chance it will keep you from being admitted. Just make sure you explain in the appropriate fashion. For example, if there is a personal statement find some way to work the explanation into your essay. If there is no fitting place for you to offer an explanation, include it on a note or email of its own.
Monitor Your Social Media Image
Admissions offices don’t say they do this but it’s more than likely that the more selective colleges and universities get what information they can about you from stuff posted by you or about you in places like Facebook and Twitter. Accordingly, you should make sure there is nothing out there about you that tarnishes your image such as extreme viewpoints or inappropriate behavior.
Demonstrate Knowledge of the Institution
Showing enthusiasm about the institution to which you are applying is a surefire way to increase your chance of being admitted. One way of showing this enthusiasm is by demonstrating your knowledge of the college or university. You can do this, for example, by mentioning a renowned professor you hope to work with or some research that has been done by the program you are applying to, which you want to build on.
Although your past academic performance is the main factor most admissions offices look at when reviewing applications, following the above guidelines might give you just enough of an edge to get into that school you might not have been admitted to otherwise.