Top Ten Tips for Admissions
by Michael Pugh, FastWeb.com
Take a strong course schedule. Your class record is a big part of your college application. Don't take courses that simply pad your GPA. Challenge yourself. Take AP, IB or honors courses. If your school doesn't offer them, see if your local community college or university does.
Do volunteer work. Make a difference and volunteer for activities that reflect your personality and matter to you. Volunteering benefits your community and looks great on an application.
Ace the entrance exams. Familiarize yourself with the test by taking sample versions beforehand. Get plenty of sleep the night before and eat a well-balanced breakfast. Read the directions and test questions carefully. Pace yourself so you have time to review your work.
Find the school that's right for you. Develop your ideal college profile. Then find matches with the help of your guidance counselor and FastWeb's college search. Learn more about your schools of choice via their Web sites, campus visits and college fairs.
Fill out the application accurately and well. Approach each application as if it were the only one that you're filling out. Read the directions carefully and follow them precisely. Tell the truth. Complete a draft copy first, then revise and proofread. Avoid the common errors of college apps.
Craft excellent application essays. Start by brainstorming for an original topic and take some time to hone your unique point of view. When writing, be clear, concise and well organized. And don't forget to check grammar and spelling.
Submit applications as early as possible. Many colleges require applications to be in by early January. Online applications are a great way to get your forms in quickly.
Get great letters of recommendation. Choose adults who know you well such as teachers, employers, coaches, clergy and community leaders. Provide them with all the necessary materials and information well in advance. Find out if the due date is a postmark date or a receive date. For receive dates, send letters at least 10 days in advance.
Follow up on your applications. If a college hasn't sent you something that they should have, don't be afraid to check on your application. With thousands of applications being processed, mistakes do occasionally happen.
Dazzle them at your college interview. Stay calm. Prepare by practicing with friends and formulate a few questions to ask. Dress for the occasion. Follow up with a thank-you note.
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