Apps... not the fun kind

Updated: Feb 8, 2021

LIV in Style's guide to college applications


Not too long ago I was stressing over college applications. Although the process was quite unpleasant, I hope the information I've gathered from my own experiences and my friends' helps you on your journey to finishing (or starting) your apps. Remember that not all these suggestions will work for you. Take which ones you like, and leave those you don’t.


 

Essays

  • Start writing early. Your essays are going to go through tons of revisions and develop into different versions of your original copy.

  • Write your entire Common Application essay in one sitting, this way your thoughts aren’t disjointed and your paper has a good flow.

  • Only have a couple of people review your essays. Having too many people give you input can distort your message and make your essay sound like it wasn't written by you. Keep your paper as authentic as possible.

  • Have college students or teachers look at your essay, but don’t feel obligated to take all their editing suggestions. Stay original.

Recommendation Letters

  • Ask teachers for rec letters early so you’re not pressed for time when your application is due. Remember teachers have more than just your letter to write.

  • Ask for recommendations from people you know well and will speak highly of you. These could be teachers, coaches, church leaders, or other organization leaders with whom you've worked closely.

Be Informed

  • Do your research! If you have an idea of what career path you’d like to follow look into each college's program and available majors in your area of interest.

  • Search for different specialized or residential programs within colleges that you might want to apply to. For example, James Madison and Lyman Briggs at Michigan State University, and the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

  • Make sure to schedule college visits. Even if you are going out of state, if possible, schedule a tour to get a better idea of what you want before you make any commitments.

  • Reach out to advisors or department heads (you can find these on university websites) in order to ask specific questions you may have, or to compare responses you get from other schools.

Scholarships

  • Apply for scholarships early! Be proactive!

  • Smaller awards are ok, more often than not the scholarships with massive awards are very competitive. Little scholarships can also help with smaller costs such as books, supplies, and other expenses.

Just in Case

  • Apply to a ‘safety school’. Unfortunately there is a chance you might not get into your top choices. Also, depending on which ‘safety’ you choose, these universities sometimes give out generous scholarships which can certainly play a part in your decision making process.

Other Advice

  • Ask upperclassmen for advice, especially those who are currently attending your favored colleges and universities.

  • Speak with alumni, counselors, and/or teachers that are familiar with the college application process. The advice they give might just take your apps to the next level; or clarify questions you have yet to answer about a certain school.

 

Thank you to all these wonderful people that helped provide the advice and tips listed above!


James Ha

Justin Fernando

Euni Baik

Liv Tu

George Azar

Marvin Jiang

Leya Chambo


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