being the oldest in my family, i remember feeling like i was blindly navigating through the murky waters of all things college related. from perfect applications essays to experiencing dorm life, i was a total noob. and to be honest, i didn’t really know where to start, or if i was even doing it right. “can somebody help me?”
since i work with high school seniors, i am hoping to share some helpful information–or possibly embarrassing stories of my high school to college transition–in my newest post series:
so, without further a dew, i bring you your first college 101 post: my top 5 application tips.
one way to get a leg up on all the other applicants is to apply early. it may seem premature to apply for college during the first month of your senior year, but trust me on this! i remember how important this was for several of the big state schools like the university of texas, because if you are applying to a specific school within that university, often times they only select a limited number of applicants. so, if you know you want to go to the UT school of business, you better get that puppy in pronto!
once you have an idea of what colleges you’d like to apply to and their submission deadlines, get a big calendar and map out the dates for when each application needs to be submitted. that way you can pace yourself, rather than scrambling last minute over 5645897 essays due within 24 hours. not that i learned this the hard way or anything.
you will find that for every college application you fill out, they all start off the same. typical “about me” info, recommendation letters, gpa, SAT scores, extra-curriculars, etc. draft all of that information up in a separate word document on your computer and have it saved so that you can refer to it for each application. this will save you by not having to re-type everything a ba-jillion times. believe me, your hands will thank you for diminishing the early onset of carpal tunnel syndrome.
let’s be real. essay writing is WORK. so, once you find out your prompt for each college application essay, brainstorm thoughts and ideas down first. this will help get you into the writing groove. it’s totally okay to have 4, 5 or even 6 drafts. there is always room to change + re-word things to ensure it is the best representation of you and your voice. share your true self in your essay by writing from the heart. admissions staff only have a brief moment to get to know you before they make a decision, so be clever, witty + honest. (of course, without trying too hard!) i remember for one of my essays that i sent to Belmont, i shared about my childhood and growing up with a special needs sister.
it’s never too early to get that process started. even if you don’t think you’re “smart enough” to get a scholarship, i assure you, you are wrong! there is A LOT of scholarship money out there. it’s just a matter of digging and looking in the right places! and if you don’t get one before you head off to school next august, don’t worry! often times your university will have scholarships they can give you in the middle of your collegiate career, just like mine did!
get organized, be original + get after it.
you will be selecting roommates before you know it!