Thursday, August 1, 2013

4 Reasons to Start Your College Applications Now

For many rising seniors, college still seems far away—but it isn’t. Deadlines for early action and early decision arrive just a few weeks after students return to school in the fall. That means that summer is the best time to do applications and avoid stress later. Still not convinced? Here are some reasons to think again.

1. Early Action and Early Decision deadlines fall in November at most schools, but some have now moved to October
The reality is that many colleges are filling 25-75% of their freshman class during early admissions. So, the early bird catches the worm. Also, senior year is fraught with AP classes, campus visits, college interviews, sports, extra-curricular activities and social engagements. The last thing you need to do is add applications to that stressful schedule in September/October. A few hours a week this summer will pay off in spades next year.

2. There isn’t just one app to fill out
While the Common Application is accepted at over 400 colleges, there are still supplements and supplemental essays. And remember that many colleges, particularly state universities, are not on the Common App. Don’t underestimate the amount of hours that will be required to fill out documents and write all the essays.

3. Polish makes a difference
The biggest complaint admissions officers have about applications is that they often display signs of being rushed. Students make grammar and spelling mistakes, they fail to choose essay topics that showcase their unique attributes, and they don’t demonstrate why they will be an asset to the college. Great essays require at least 5 revisions, and it is important that you showcase all your activities and awards in a strategic manner on your applications. College applications and essays are some of the most important pieces you will ever author—treat them that way!

4. Supplements should not be generic
When a college asks you to write extra essays just for them, they do it for a reason. They are assessing your critical thinking, your compatibility with the school, and your interest level. Too many admissions officers at Boston University cringe each year when they receive an essay that begins with “The reason I want to go to Boston College is…..”. Writing a supplemental essay is like answering the question “Why did you ask me to the prom?” No one wants to hear that it’s because you have blonde hair, are nice, and were available. You should have very specific points in your supplemental essays that reflect the individuality of that school, why you are a good match, and show that you have done your homework.

Written by Cristiana Quinn
Posted by Lindy Kahn, M.A., CEP for Kahn Educational Group, LLC


I am an educational consultant in private practice advising families on day/boarding schools, college admissions, schools for teens and young adults who have emotional/behavioral problems, learning issues, neurological and psychiatric problems.

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