What should students focus on during the application process?

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Our counselors answered:

What should students focus on during the application process?

王文君 June Scortino
President IVY Counselors Network

the essay and supplemental materials requried by each school

students shall check their emails to make sure the communication between the admissions office and the student online access account is good with no outstanding requriements. students should also prepare for interviews requested by the admisisons office. mock interivew is necessay if it can be arranged. the parents are also must prepare for financial aid filling during the application process.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Be Organized

There are a lot of pieces involved in college admissions. There are a lot of schools out there to consider. There is a lot going on in a high schooler's life. Put that all together and it is easy to see where the application process could feel overwhelming. By creating a system of files, timelines, support people, it is all manageable. These are also skills that will be of value in college. The student needs to own this experience and take responsibility for the application process. Each part of the application is important for it's own reason. There is very little that you have control over because your grades and test scores are what they are. The essay and interview give you an opportunity to add a dimension to your application that wouldn't otherwise be there. Focus on proofing, print previewing and preparing and you'll be fine.

Susan Karasek
Guidance Counselor Estrella Foothills High School

Steps for Applying to College and Receiving a Merit Scholarship

Students should begin to apply to college the summer before their senior year. Prior to your senior year students should have taken the SAT and/or ACT, maintained a high GPA, taken honors, AP, and IB classes if offered, and have been involved within their school and community. Once you apply to college have your school counselor or registrar mail in your official transcripts, and officially send your SAT and/or ACT scores to your college. Know what the requirements are to get into your college including your GPA and required tests such as SAT, SAT Subject tests, ACT (including writing). Students should retake the SAT and/or ACT to meet the minimum requirements for admission, but may need to retake these exams to get into their college programs and to earn merit scholarships. Merit scholarships are automatically awarded to students with a high GPA, ACT/SAT scores and class rank. Many Colleges have a "scholarship estimator" link for students to use to better understand what they need in order to receive a merit scholarship. Students can ask their colleges to re-review them for a merit scholarship if your SAT and/or ACT, core GPA or class rank scores improve.

Erin Avery
Certified Educational Planner Avery Educational Resources, LLC

Get Personal

In application process, I advise my clients to select essay topics wisely. What can you, and you alone, write about? Everyone can write about summer camp or their Bar Mitzvah, true. But if you choose to write about a ubiquitous topic, choose a detail, a conversation, a memory that gets to the heart of who you are and your worldview. Remember, the most seemingly pedestrian detail can become a remarkable and memorable essay. I have seen it time and time again. You need not cure cancer. Be yourself in your essays; that is what's remarkable to me.

Erica White
College & Career Counselor Middletown High School

What should students focus on during the application process?

The essay is one of the more difficult parts of the application and needs quite a bit of time and attention. The essay can help you shine within the application process. It can show your creative or analytical side, what you’re passionate about, your thought process, and your personality. It is your one opportunity to tell the admission counselor something that they do not already know about you. Students need to focus on the essay because it is often what sets them apart from the applicant pool. Let's face it....if you are applying to a highly selective school and everyone has A's, close to perfect SAT scores, and a laundry list of extra circular activities, the only thing to make you different is your essay! Take time to brainstorm topics, talk with your counselor or English teachers about the topic, set aside time to write the essay and have it proof read once you are finished!

Dr. Bruce Neimeyer
CEO/Partner Global College Search Associates, LLC

What should students focus on during the application process?

My experience has been that by answering the essay question which typically asks students to assess the school in relation to themselves academically, socially and in regards to their career aspiration, it becomes a wonderful exercise for the student to truly understand if the school is a match for them or not. If done correctly, students will soon discover that their school of application is either really suited for them or it is not. Some students become rather frustrated with this step as they begin to find it rather difficult to answer these questions. My point in having them concentrate on this part of the application is exactly this result. If they are frustrated because they can't easily answer the question, then it is highly likely this school is not a match for them. By the same token, if they are having a rather easy time expressing the answer to this question with another school, it should be clear to them that this is a much better fit of an institution.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

What should students focus on during the application process?

The central goal of your application is to provide as complete a picture as possible of who you are and what you can contribute to the school community. Obviously your record offers evidence of that, especially of your academic readiness, but your interests and activities also provide important insight into what you have to offer. For the selective schools, the question is always why you should be chosen over the multiple other qualified candidates seeking that same spot, so it is critically important to highlight the reasons why it should be you. Choose teachers whose recommendations will attest to what you bring and use your essays to make the case as fully as you can.

Karen Ekman-Baur
Director of College Counseling Leysin American School

What should students focus on during the application process?

Aside from making sure that all parts of the application are carefully and legibly completed - no glaring spelling or grammar mistakes, please, I would say that a student should focus on writing essays that are formulated in interesting ways and reveal things about him/her that will, hopefully, make the student stand out as the admissions officers read through the countless essays that they receive each year. This is the one area in which a student can more vividly present his/her personality, interests, and values. Another overall focus should be on meeting all of the deadlines that are established by the institution(s) - application, financial aid, and so on. If you aren't able to meet those deadlines, there are always going to be other people who will. You don't want to disadvantage your application by overlooking these important timeframes.

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

What should students focus on during the application process?

Everything that pertains to it. Make a list of ALL components and check them off when completed. Here are just a few: 1. Have an on campus interview w/the chairman of the dept you plan on focusing on & at the same time hopefully meet w/the provost of the university to present your credentials. This should be accomplished as a non-applicant as early as the 10th grade 2. Making sure all SAT/SATII/ACT tests are completed 3. Meeting ALL deadlines 4. You get the picture

Pamela Hampton-Garland
Owner Scholar Bound

What should students focus on during the application process?

During the application process students primary focus should be on accuracy of information and attention to detail. Read, Read, Read, the instructions before you just start answering questions that have not been asked or neglecting to answer the question that is asked. Additionally, give your chose group of references the respect, time, and appreciation they deserve for taking the time to write a letter of recommendation, they could easily say no, or write a not so nice letter. Lastly, write all essays on your own and in your words, and have them edited prior to submitting them. This along with keeping track of your involvment and volunteer services should make the process very simple.