8 last-minute tips to improve your college application

college admissions strategy
By Kavya

As a high school senior in the final stretch of your college applications journey, you might be feeling a mix of excitement, anxiety, and a touch of procrastination. Still, it's crucial to make every moment count.

Here are 10 last-minute tips to enhance your college application and increase your chances of standing out to universities. 

Make Sure your Common/Coalition Application Essay Tells your Story

Take a fresh look at your personal statement. Is it a true reflection of who you are and what you bring to the campus community? Make sure it tells a compelling story about your experiences, values, and aspirations. Have a close friend or family member read your essay to ensure that your true self shines through.  

Show, Don’t Tell, your Achievements and Extracurriculars

Admissions officers are interested in what you've achieved outside the classroom. Illustrate your impact, whether it's leading a club, participating in community service, or excelling in sports, through concise anecdotes and reflections. Don’t just provide a laundry list of your accomplishments! 

Tailor Your Resume

Craft an Activities section that complements your application. Highlight key achievements, skills, and experiences. Keep it concise and easy to read, and make sure that your resume highlights a central theme. Remember, quality over quantity. 

Double-Check Your Application Details

Go through your application with a fine-tooth comb. Check for typos, grammatical errors, and consistency in formatting. Make sure you've entered accurate information about your grades, test scores, and contact details. Attention to detail is crucial, as it also showcases what kind of a student you would be at the university! 

Take the Time to Research Each College's Supplemental Essays

Many universities require supplemental essays in addition to the Common Application or other application forms. Take the time to understand each college's unique requirements and features and tailor your responses accordingly. Show that you've done your homework and genuinely want to be part of their community. 

Showcase what you can Contribute to the University

Admissions officers appreciate an inclusive and diverse student body. Share stories that demonstrate your ability to collaborate with people from different backgrounds and perspectives, and what diverse experiences you can bring to the table. 

Prepare for Interviews

Some colleges may offer interviews as part of the application process. Be ready to discuss your experiences, goals, and why you're a great fit for their institution. Practice common interview questions with a friend or family member to boost your confidence. If your interview is virtual, be sure to practice logging on to the interview platform, and try recording yourself speaking online to get some extra practice. 

Stay Positive and Manage Stress

Most importantly, take care of your mental well-being! The college application process can be long and draining, and it's natural to feel stressed during this time, but staying positive and managing stress is crucial. Take breaks, practice mindfulness, and ensure you're getting enough sleep. A clear mind will help you present the best version of yourself in your application! 

Remember, it's never too late to make a positive impression. With focused effort and attention to detail, you can significantly enhance your college application in these final weeks. Good luck! 

Kavya graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College with a joint degree in Chemical & Physical Biology and Statistics. Currently, he is studying computational biology at the University of Cambridge as a Marshall Scholar.


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