How To Improve Your College Application

By Sofia Bonno, Features Editor

stressed teen flickr

Fall begins and with it comes the awful stress of college applications. As a high school senior, it can be overwhelming to deal with both the demands of school and the anxiety of finding a university to spend the next four years at. Luckily, as a high school senior myself with two brothers already in college, I have acquired some knowledge about how to make the process marginally easier.

If you are not yet a senior in high school and still have time to get your life together, then I am speaking directly to you. Figure out what you enjoy and genuinely care about and find an activity related to it. If you love animals, intern at your local veterinarian’s office. If you like building and designing, join the robotics club. The essential idea is to find an organization or club and get involved. It does not necessarily have to be related to the school; it just has to be a reputable program. As a freshman, I made the mistake of joining every club possible. Colleges are not as concerned with how many clubs you can attach your name to, but rather how much you can apply yourself to a few activities that you genuinely care about. Find something you are passionate about and get involved! Having leadership positions in a few clubs or organizations is much more impressive than barely being in ten clubs.

For volunteering, it is a similar concept. Volunteering with a single organization for four years shows dedication, not to mention the increased possibility of receiving a letter of recommendation from a leader in said organization. If there is a possibility of an award within the program for your work, strive for it. If you cannot find a program that offers volunteer work for something you want to do, make a club. Contact your school’s club administrator and organize your own volunteer force. Not only will you have a new leadership position, starting a club shows initiative.

Now, for the seniors convinced they have never accomplished anything, take a breath. When you fill out your Common Application, do not feel compelled to fill out every single activity. If you do not have ten legitimate activities, do not put organizations you do not feel completely comfortable saying you participated in. Ask for your letters of recommendations in person. Make sure to ask at least two weeks in advance, but some teachers will prefer a thirty day advance. Ask a teacher who you feel has your best interest at heart and who you feel has a good understanding of who you are. If you have any adults in your life, other than family, who you have a close relationship with, letters of recommendation from them can help your application.

There really is not any way to have the “perfect” application. You can only be honest, especially in your essays, and hope for the best. Good luck!

Photo credits: Flickr

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