WHAT IS A COLLEGE APPLICATION?
The Typical College Application
To go any further in your pursuit of colleges and/or training beyond high school, you have to apply for admission. A college application is a file of information about you that colleges use to evaluate whether you are a good match for their school. The college application is usually the first glimpse a college gains of you. In order to make a good impression, your application must be flawless – or pretty close to it. The college application is typically made up of these key documents:
• An application form. This can be the Common Application (www.commonapp.org), Universal Application, or the college’s own application form. The college application is a form on which you provide general information (your name, age, interests, family information, test scores, personal activities, and work experience).
• A personal statement. This shows the college who you are beyond the application. A personal statement is most often a true story about you in which you show your strengths.
• Teacher recommendation(s). Most colleges require at least one letter of recommendation from a teacher. Some require more than one. Recommendations may be written by someone who knows you in an academic setting or through extracurricular activities (a youth minister, a counselor, or a mentor).
• Transcript. A listing of courses taken and grades earned in high school.
• Standardized test scores. Your results from the SAT I, SAT II, and/or ACT, and in some cases, the TOEFL.
• List of activities and/or resume. Some colleges may request this to get a better understanding of your experience and participation in extracurricular activities. Your activities (extracurricular activities, jobs, religious activities, childcare work) can show colleges what your grades and test scores cannot–what you are interested in, what you are passionate about, what you are dedicated to–who you are!
• Special portfolios. Art schools may require students to send a portfolio of their work along with other application documents.
Some colleges may request different or additional documents. Each college application includes specific directions and requirements. Be sure to ask you advisor/counselor any questions you encounter as you complete applications. You can also call or email college admission offices with your questions.
Top 5 mistakes to avoid on college applications
1. MISSPELLING AND GRAMMATICAL ERRORS
Failure to proofread can lead to small mistakes that can make a big–and unfavorable–impression. Proofread. Then proofread gain.
2. NOT READING CAREFULLY
Read the application directions carefully before beginning. Skipping the instructions may result in an incomplete or incorrectly filled out application.
3. WRITING ILLEGIBLY
Sloppy handwriting indicates a lack of attention to detail. Type your apps when possible. If you must hand write, take your time and use a black or blue ink pen.
4. NOT APPLYING TO ENOUGH SCHOOLS
Applying to several schools gives you more options. If you aren’t accepted to your first choice, or if it is too expensive, you’ll have alternatives.
5. USING AN INAPPROPRIATE EMAIL ADDRESS
Your e-mail address should be simple and professional. Cutegirl@funtimes.com is fine for e-mailing your friends, but it won’t impress an admissions officer.