My Advice Before the Regular Decision Deadline
As December comes to a close, you’ve most likely narrowed down your college list and are now making the final edits on your applications. Congratulations -- you’re almost there! For this month’s blog post, I’d like to offer some last-minute advice for the college application process. Here are five tips to get you through the last leg of this process, and to get you closer to sitting back and enjoying the new year:
- Don’t stress about the things you can’t change; focus on the things you can! This late in the game, there are only a few things that you can still change about your application. Your transcript, test scores, and teacher recommendations have all been sent, and for now they are out of your hands. Instead of worrying about these pieces, channel your energy into the aspects of your application that you can still change, such as your personal statement and writing supplements -- it will be time much better spent.
- Proofread your Common Application (including your demographic information and activities). While most of your proofreading efforts will go into your personal statement and writing supplements, don’t forget to proofread the more basic aspects of your application as well. Have you entered all of the correct information in the correct boxes? Have you listed all of the extracurricular activities that you intended to list? Are they all spelled correctly and explained clearly?
- Proofread your Common Application Personal Statement. This is a piece of advice that you’ve surely heard since the beginning of your application process, but it still bears repeating. While at this point you probably aren’t going to be making many major changes to your personal statement, use the time you have to make sure your essay is free of errors and conveys your thoughts clearly.
- Work on perfecting your writing supplements. If you are going to spend a lot of time on any one part of your application in the days leading up to the deadline, I would recommend you spend it here. Applying to colleges is all about “fit,” and writing supplements are one of your key opportunities to show a school they are a fit for you, and you are a fit for them. Good writing supplements can take an application from good to great, so give them all of the care that you can. For example, in answering any “Why (insert school name here)?” question, take the time to make your answer specific and thoughtful. One way to ensure that you are doing this is to cover the name of the school in your response and read your answer to yourself again. If another school’s name can be inserted in its place and still make sense, you have not been specific enough in your answer!
Lastly, be sure to submit your application (and all of its parts) on time! Be sure to click submit on your application, writing supplement, and any additional materials you may be submitting. The earlier you submit your applications, the earlier you can enjoy your winter break! Submitting earlier will also help reduce any anxiety that may ensue if you run into technical difficulties right around the deadline. Our office will be closed from December 24th-January 3rd, and while we will still be checking the main admissions inbox (firstname.lastname@example.org), we will not be available via phone. Save yourself the panic of an 11:59 PM internet malfunction on December 31st. Submit your application early!
Good luck, and best wishes for a (mostly) stress-free end to 2016!