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The Three Easiest Tips to Improve Your College Application

With the passing of the early action deadline for college applications, high school students should look to finish their applications once and for all to meet the approaching regular deadline on January 1, 2018. Even for those who have pending early decisions under their belts, it’s best to hope for the best and prepare for the worst as deferral remains a possibility. Here we've compiled some tips we feel will best help your application look its best in order to impress.

1. The Easiest Way to Mess Up

Your common application consists of three key components: your GPA report, SAT/ACT scores, and teacher recommendations. Compiling them is the easiest part of the application process, yet has the most dire consequences if not met with adequate preparation.

Your GPA is a culmination of your academic efforts since the beginning of your high school career. Although it is too late to ameliorate your overall average this late into the semester, you can still ensure that your report cards are mailed correctly to schools. If one would like one last shot at a higher test score, the last standardized exam one can take before the regular deadline is the December SAT (more information on important dates here).

Lastly, teachers are flooded with recommendation requests, especially those who are known to write good letters. So it is prudent to contact your teachers immediately. Politely and promptly ask them, increasing their willingness to even write a recommendation for you, and give them ample time to deliberately write a thoughtful letter. Avoid tripping yourself at the starting line and practice timeliness as a key factor in this tip.

2. The Easiest Way to Get Help

Students perceive meetings with guidance counselors as they do doctor's appointments: considered with the same sarcastic endearment as chores. However, guidance counselors are powerful allies who help students apply to college every year and would like to do the same for you.

Counselors can follow up with schools and confirm that important documents, such as your report card and test scores, are delivered on time. They can also offer advice on selecting schools and, if they're generous, comments on your common app essay. Counselors can even contact schools that you have been deferred from and ask how you can strengthen your application (though it's recommended for you to make this kind of call yourself).

Aside from the one or two mandatory meetings, make appointments with your counselor. Because counselors are responsible for many different students, building a relationship with them outside appointed hours can be a huge benefit during crunch time. The college application process is a strict and difficult one for students; having someone offer you seasoned assistance, especially from those with experience like your guidance counselors, will take a substantial load off your shoulders.

3. The Easiest Way to Impress Admissions

You can’t write your own recommendation letter, or drastically change your GPA in the middle of senior year, but you have full control over your college essay. Aside from the numbers and your extracurricular activities, your essay gives your application the individual flavor and spice it needs to help you stand out from the thousands of applicants schools receive. Keep your essay to the word limit (350-600 words) and make sure to leave out irrelevant details and clearly answer the prompt in a digestible manner. For more on college essay writing, check out our 3 Do's and Don'ts of Writing Your College Essay.

Simply writing the essay is not sufficient; have your friends, parents, and counselors read your essay as well. Having outside editors help you spot grammatical errors and inconsistencies in sentence structure. Because your essay is designed to be read by admissions officers, do your best to make sure that the essay impresses not only yourself, but others as well. Rather than an inside joke that is privy only to you, your essay should be a personal statement that holds a profound moment in your life that rings a chord in any reader's heart.

We wish every college applicant the best of luck in this final stretch. For assistance and counseling with any part of the application process and consulting, please contact us today at (212) 686 - 5077 or shoot us an email at Visit our website for more information on our programs and upcoming events.

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