How Resumes, Applications, and Planning Can Make Applying for Colleges Less Stressful
Each year millions of new high school graduates start applying for colleges across the country according to Admissionsly. Not only is college admissions a competitive process, but it also serves as one of the first major life challenges faced by young adults. While the process to apply is straightforward, it takes a considerable amount of effort and dedication to make your application stand out from the competition. In this article by Today Magazine, we’ll explore a few tried and tested ways students can take the stress out of the college admission process and increase the probability of being accepted into their dream institution.
Making an Application Plan
The ideal time to start your admission process is in the months leading up to your high school graduation. Understandably, you will be occupied with tests and assignments, but taking 30 minutes a day to research colleges/universities is a reasonable expectation. All colleges aren’t made equal, and key points of difference can be as follows:
- Financial aid can vary greatly among colleges, oftentimes, state-run institutions provide greater aid compared to their private counterparts. However, factors such as size, location, and funding have a major influence on the amount of aid an institution provides.
- Nowadays, numerous colleges provide online courses with lower tuition and asynchronous learning options. Earning an online degree instead of attending school in person is a key to success for many students. For example, with an education degree, you can learn about teaching methods and learner development, along with skills in particular subjects if you want to be a teacher.
Additionally, create a timeline for gathering referral letters, collecting official transcripts from the high school, and applying for colleges.
Preparing Thoroughly for SAT or GRE
Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) are two widely accepted competitive tests accepted by colleges. The Princeton Review notes that getting high scores on either of these can put your application in the top percentile of students colleges will accept and make you eligible for scholarships and other types of aid. Each of these is divided into categories to test a student’s analytical, quantitate, language, and reasoning skills. While some topics will be covered in your high school curriculum itself, it’s best to use free online resources to have a thorough preparation.
Dates for these exams need to be pre-booked, hence you will know exactly when you’ll need to give them. Plan to complete at least two full practice tests before the real exam. Additionally, these exams can be retaken if needed, hence if you don’t receive the expected score on the first attempt, don’t fret, as you can try again as long as you have plenty of buffer with the application deadline.
Asking Professors for Reference Letters
A reference letter is a document that will be submitted along with your application but will be written by a recommender such as a professor, department chair, etc. The best way to ask a professor to be one of your recommenders is to meet in person and explain to them the programs and colleges you’re applying to. Here’s a short list of things to collate before your meeting:
- Name of colleges
- Name and length of programs
- Your reasons for applying to the program
- Skills or experience you want highlighted
- Template(s) you found on the college website
Writing Your Admission Letter Early
Every college will have its own specifications for an admission letter, but in general, here are the key points to be covered:
- Your academic background
- Extracurricular activities
- Professional experience (if any)
- Reasons for applying
Finding a starting point is often the hardest part of an admission letter, but now a simple search on the internet will provide you with numerous amazing examples to reference. Most of these will be shared by students applying to the same course and program as you. Avoid plagiarizing at all costs, however, there is no harm in drawing inspiration from these to write your letter.
Don’t Forget the Importance of Your Resume
Lastly, having an updated resume is essential when you are considering attending college. It is important to make sure that your resume stands out from the rest and showcases your skills and experience in the best way possible. To make sure your resume looks professional, consider using customizable templates or tools designed specifically for creating a good resume. For an easy way to create a high-quality resume, try this tool.
The stress of college applications is tough to manage alone. Hence, don’t refrain from reaching out to friends, family, and teachers for help. Moreover, by starting early, you’ll give yourself ample time to think, write, review and track applications without burdening yourself daily to get things done. Whether you choose to do an online or in-person course, going to college will be a great learning experience for the rest of your life.