A COLLEGE APPLICATION TRICK YOU SHOULD KNOW
When is the right time to print a college application? Most would say when you are ready to apply – probably, junior year. I propose that is way too late.
You should consider printing the application in your Freshman Year. The sooner, the better.
The reason is simple – a college application is a very clear list of goals you should aspire to accomplish in your first three years of High School. This is exactly what the colleges and universities are expecting from you – why not print it out and post it to your bulletin board, vision board or where you will see it on a regular basis?
Aside from an essay, college applications are going to want to see school groups you joined, teams you were on, community service you performed and where you volunteered. If you print the application early, you still have time to achieve these goals instead of scrambling when it will be almost too late. A worse possibility is thinking you are doing all the right things, only to discover at the 11th hour that you overlooked that one thing which might have been the key differentiation to get you accepted to the college of your choice.
You can print from any college website – the website will require you to setup an account – it only takes a few minutes. If you have an idea of your top choices, then print from those. Compare the applications and look for any differences. Hedge your bets by fulfilling ALL the requirements you see – leave your options open.
Use a highlighter and mark those items upon which you need to focus your energies in the next few years. As you accomplish each goal, fill it in on the application – this way you keep track of what you have done and what you still need to do. Also, when the time comes to actually print out the current applications for submittal, it will only take minutes to complete instead of days.
TAKE IT UP A NOTCH
If you really want to be organized, create a calendar schedule of when you plan to reach each goal. If you think that these kinds of goals should simply “happen” when they “happen”, that’s not real life. Achieving your goals in life takes planning, foresight and organization. Those are some of the skills of successful people, whether they work in a company or for themselves. You might as well begin developing those skills as early as possible – they never go away and will help carry you through your life.
WHY ARE THE APPLICATIONS SO SIMILAR?
There is a reason why colleges look for the same achievements. That list is a clear description of well-rounded development as a person. Participating in clubs teaches confidence and responsibility. Volunteering teaches how to appreciate other’s needs, not just your own. Each item from the application will help you become a better you. Even if you are not planning on going to college, you will benefit from the experience.
Aside from gaining experience and confidence by putting yourself out there and pushing beyond your comfort zone, you will have the story you will need to write a much better essay on the application. It’s difficult to answer an essay question about how you have grown as a person, if you haven’t.