If there is a rising senior in your house, gearing up for another school year equals more than just back to school shopping. Many seniors will soon become knee-deep in the college application process. As a former admissions officer and longtime college consultant, I have learned that getting into your first-choice college is not only about grades, scores and extracurricular activities, but also about how you manage the college application process.
Once you’ve identified your top choice colleges, you can increase your chance of getting admitted by:
- Clicking on emails from top-choice schools. Colleges are tracking which students open their emails and how much time students spend looking at their websites. If you’re serious about applying to a particular school, show interest by visiting their website frequently and exploring the school. This is especially important if the school requires you to have a user name and password to access certain aspects of its sites.
- Mining the people you know. Connect with friends or relatives who are alums (or who know alums) to learn more about your top-choice schools. This will help you sound more knowledgeable in your “Why XYZ” college essay and during interviews.
- Applying early. Not only will applying early help you to focus on the college process earlier, it demonstrates your interest in the college. Many colleges try to lock in their yields by filling a significant percentage of their classes early. Research shows that applying early can greatly increase your chances of getting admitted.
- Proofreading (and Re-Proofreading) your college application. Reread your application front to back and back to front multiple times. Then, ask someone else to look it over with fresh eyes. Our admissions officers will review your application before you submit.
- Keep up the full-court press on academics. Offers of admission are conditional. You need to maintain your commitment to academics. It’s hard to do, but it’s especially crucial.
Stephanie Klein Wassink is the founder of AdmissionsCheckup.com and Winning Applications College Consulting. She frequently writes for blogs such as Money Magazine and The Huffington Post.