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College Applications | Browse Education


College Applications – What Do Colleges Look For?

Schedules are busy and the last thing a lot of high school seniors want to think about are college applications. They are in school all day, participate in extracurricular activities, and know that they have at least two hours or more of homework to do. Weekends are the only time they have to relax. And what about some social life?

The reality is that college applications will be due for many schools within the next month or two. If you have not already started, procrastinate no longer.

  1. Narrow down your list of colleges to six or eight schools that seem to be the best fit both academically and socially. There is no sense in applying to schools that you have no chance of getting into. Spending time and money to submit college applications to these schools would be a wasted effort. Reach schools are one thing; applying to colleges that are totally out of your league is another.
  2. Check all the deadlines for college applications and scholarships. Most schools are strict about the deadlines they set. If your college applications do not arrive by the established date, they may not be considered for college admissions at all. Some schools may still consider them, but not until all the others have been reviewed and received decisions.
  3. Check to see which schools are on the common application. This is a good place to begin. Your common application can be sent to each of these colleges and you can use the same essays. Check the supplements for each school because they may require additional information or short answer essays. Fill out online applications for schools that are not on the common application.
  4. Check on recommendations. Hopefully, you have already asked two teachers to write recommendations. If you have not, do not wait another day to ask. Teachers can either submit their recommendations electronically or on the form that each college provides. Students should waive their rights to see a teacher recommendation.
  5. Spend time on essays because they can tip the scale in your favor if you give a college a reason to accept you. Think about the topics you choose to write about and make sure you are able to let your personality come through. The essays are the only place that let you personalize your college applications.

Proofread, Proofread and Proofread some more. Your college applications will do nothing to help with college admissions if they are full of grammatical or spelling errors. Do not count on spell check. See that all information is accurate and complete. Keep your colleges updated on any awards you win or improved test scores or grades.

Will colleges find what they are looking for on your college applications?