College Application Help

July 27, 2022
By AdmissionSight

College Application Help

Need college application help? How does one go about filling out an application for college? The process of applying to colleges can be intimidating, particularly for students who do not have parents or siblings who have already been through the process and who can offer advice.

Because there are so many steps, such as writing an essay and obtaining letters of recommendation, experts recommend that students create a to-do list during their junior year of high school as a good way to get started.

Unidentified person holding a paper for college application.

According to the recommendations of education specialists, students should start the application process for higher education during the summer between their junior and senior years of high school, even though there is frequently preparatory work that takes place earlier.

How long should a college application essay be?

How long should a college application essay be? Students need to be aware that the quality of their work is significantly more important than the quantity of words they submit with their applications, despite the fact that colleges typically provide a purpose statement explaining why they require application essays.

Keeping this in mind, it is possible that you will require some additional information in order to determine an appropriate strategy for your own college application essay.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind when determining how long your application essays should be in order to determine how long they should be. College application essays do not typically have a required length.

In general, colleges may recommend that essays be between 250 and 650 words long. Despite the fact that there aren’t really any official requirements, there are a few things you should keep in mind that will help guide the length of your essay. These points are as follows:

Important considerations regarding the length of the common application essay

  • The required word count for the essay portion of the Common Application is between 250 and 650 words.
  • Do not make the assumption that shorter is better. A college will ask you to write an essay because they are interested in finding out more about you.
  • You should never go over the allowed amount. Demonstrate that you can understand and follow directions, as well as that you are familiar with editing.

How to write a college application essay?

How to write a college application essay? As part of the application process for many different colleges, you will need to hand in an essay that you have written yourself. They might present you with a question or a prompt and ask you to respond to it.

Female student typing in her desk.

The essay you write for your application is your chance to demonstrate to colleges who you are as a person and how you think. You can differentiate yourself from the other applicants by demonstrating what you can bring to campus in the essay that you submit.

1. Just get going

The most challenging aspect of writing an essay is likely going to be getting past the blank page. Therefore, give this exercise a shot to break through your writer’s block: allot yourself twenty minutes to jot down a few quick lists of your proudest accomplishments, worst embarrassments, life-changing moments, most powerful memories, favorite people, or any other categories that appeal to you.

This could be anything from your proudest accomplishments to your worst embarrassments. When making lists, try not to overthink things. (And don’t worry if, like most people, your best ideas come after that initial thirty minutes).

Repeat the exercise once a day for as many days as you feel you need. You will quickly find that you have one or more potential essay topics at your disposal.

2. Make sure that you get an early start

It’s rare to find someone who can write well when they’re under time constraints, so give yourself at least a couple of weeks before the submission deadline.

You are not required to work on your essay on a daily basis; however, you must ensure that you give yourself sufficient time to revise, edit, and then show your friend the first draft of your essay in order to receive feedback.

It will be to your advantage to get started on that first draft as quickly as possible.

3. Stay away from a topic that everybody else is discussing

If your essay is based on genuine emotion and genuine experience, not only will it be easier for you to write, but it will also be more interesting to read. Do not speculate as to what you believe an admissions office wants to see in an application.

Female student looking at her laptop with a hand on her face.

Therefore, if the topic of the day is something that all of your friends are writing application essays about, that may be a good reason for you to steer clear of it. Unless, of course, you have a fresh perspective that you can’t wait to share with the world.

4. Sound like your best self

The most effective essays, according to admissions officers, enable them to learn something about the applicant that they would not have been able to determine from reading the rest of the application.

For instance, if you have an accomplishment, a hobby, or a life experience that is only briefly mentioned on your application, this essay might be the perfect opportunity to bring it to the reader’s attention.

5. Write with self-assurance without coming across as arrogant

Maintain a confident tone in your speech even if, and especially if, you are not currently experiencing those feelings. Keep an eye out for phrases and words such as “maybe,” “sort of,” and “I think” that could potentially undermine the tone you are going for.

At the same time, ensure that you adhere to the application’s guidelines regarding the format and the length of the essay. If the essay has a suggested maximum of 650 words, turning in an essay that is only 250 words will make your application stand out, and not in a good way.

6. Check and double-check your work before submitting it

As you get closer to writing the final version of your essay, make sure to run it through the spell checker on your computer and check the word count more than once. Then put it somewhere else and wait a few days before reading it again.

Young man staring the his laptop while thinking about something.

When you reread your essay with a more objective perspective, you will be better able to spot awkward phrases and typos in your writing. After that, have someone read it over for you, whether it be a professor, a parent, or a college student.

7. Imagine that you are an admissions counselor and you are interviewing candidates

Would you enjoy reading this essay if you were someone who had to read dozens of college essays every day? Is there a glimmer of hope in the way it starts? Is it simple to understand? Is it free of typos that could be distracting to the reader? Does it lead to a conclusion that makes sense? Does it pique your curiosity about the author and make you want to learn more? If you feel that way, there is a good chance that an admissions counselor will as well.

Are you prepared to begin? Here are some pointers to help you write a college application essay:

  • It’s possible that you’ll be asked to write about a significant person in your life, an accomplishment you’ve made, or a personal experience. Explore not only the who or what, but also the how and the why behind the situation.
  • If you are going to write about a trip or an event, explain how this experience impacted you and the reasons why it is significant to you.
  • If you are writing about a real person in your life, avoid being overly sentimental and instead focus on being personal and specific. Please describe what this person did for you and how their words, actions, or example impacted you.

Reaching out to AdmissionSight for more comprehensive college planning resources will allow you to gain insight into how other students were able to successfully tackle their college application essays.

What looks good on a college application?

What looks good on a college application? Unluckily, there is no “one-size-fits-all” strategy that can guarantee admission to a particular university for each and every prospective student.

Using a laptop for Common app essay.

Nevertheless, as part of college application help, there are a few fairly standard criteria that are used by colleges to evaluate applicants. And by using these standards, one can get a general idea of the kinds of things that look impressive on college applications.

Below, we will discuss the most significant considerations that colleges make when evaluating application materials.

Academics

The quality of your academic record should be your primary focus when applying to colleges. Colleges are looking for prospective students who can provide evidence that they are capable of successfully completing the rigorous academic work required at the university level.

Because of this, it should go without saying that you should do everything in your power to achieve success academically while you are still in high school.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Your grade point average is going to be one of the first things that admissions officers look at when reviewing your application. Although your grade point average is not the only factor that goes into determining your academic standing, it is an essential component of your application and should be given due consideration.

Students studying in a table with books and notebooks.

 

If you want to be considered among the top candidates, you should work hard to get good grades in difficult classes. Keep in mind that one of the factors that goes into determining your weighted grade point average is the difficulty of your course schedule.

Because of this, as a major college application help, you should seriously consider enrolling in IB, AP, or Honors classes in order to raise your weighted grade point average. A strong performance in these kinds of classes is evidence that you are ready for the rigorous academic work required at the college level.

Results of tests

The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the American College Testing (ACT) were once considered to be required parts of the admissions process for colleges. Tests are no longer required for admission at many colleges and universities in today’s society.

Students now have the option of deciding for themselves whether or not they would like to include their test scores as part of their application materials. The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the American College Testing Program (ACT) are standardized tests that some schools require their students to take.

You can set yourself apart from other applicants during the admissions process by achieving a high score on either of these examinations. Not to mention the fact that even schools that do not require students to take standardized tests will sometimes use test scores when deciding who will receive merit-based scholarships.

Extracurricular activities

Your grades and test scores are a reflection of your academic abilities, but your extracurricular activities provide insight into who you are as an individual. Participating in extracurricular activities is a fantastic way to demonstrate your interests outside of the classroom, which is something that colleges are very interested in learning about.

Let’s take a look at a few different kinds of extracurricular activities that are sure to impress college admissions officers.

Sports

One of the most well-liked types of co-curricular activities for high school students is participation in varsity sports. They require a significant investment of your time and effort, which demonstrates that you are able to successfully manage a significant commitment outside of the classroom setting.

It would be wonderful if you could work your way up to a position of leadership on your team.

Clubs at the school

Participation in extracurricular activities at the high school level is highly valued by colleges. Choose one or two organizations that you have a genuine interest in rather than spreading yourself too thin by participating in a number of different clubs.

Spend significant time and effort on these clubs, and make it your goal to advance to a position of leadership within one of them.

The admissions committee is looking for candidates who have made a significant contribution to the organizations in which they have participated as students. Keep in mind that the focus should be on depth rather than breadth here.

Volunteer work

When it comes to applying to colleges, having experience volunteering demonstrates that you have an interest in giving back to the community you live in, which is an essential quality. Candidates who are committed to volunteering fit the bill perfectly when it comes to meeting the requirements of admissions committees, who are looking for students who have the ability to have a positive influence on the culture of the campus.

There are a variety of different ways to get involved in volunteer work, including serving as a mentor or tutor, working at a local food pantry, or volunteering at an animal shelter.

Employment

Outside of the classroom, there are many ways to demonstrate potential beyond participation in extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs, and community service. Work ethic and time management abilities can also be demonstrated effectively through the performance of well in internships and part-time jobs.

You should, if at all possible, make an effort to secure a part-time job or an internship in the field that you intend to pursue as a career. Even jobs that are only part-time or seasonal, such as those in retail or food service, can be very beneficial to your application.

Various trophies and awards

One of the most effective ways to strengthen your application is to demonstrate that you are successful in a specific area. As was previously mentioned, it is much more beneficial to devote quality time to a smaller number of activities as opposed to engaging in an excessive number of activities.

When you give your attention to the things that are truly important to you, you increase the likelihood that you will prosper and achieve great things. For instance, perhaps you were the champion of the robotics competition at your school, perhaps you were the most valuable player on the sports team, or perhaps you joined the National Honor Society at your school.

All of these accomplishments are great college application help examples of things that ought to be included in your application.

Essays that are written very well

To give your application more of a sense of who you are as a person, having an outstanding essay or personal statement can go a long way. This is one of the best chances you’ll have to demonstrate who you are as an individual and get the attention of the admissions committee.

Think about the events in your life that have contributed to making you the person you are today as you go through the process of coming up with ideas for your essay. What are some of the stories that have helped shape who you are?

No matter what you decide to write about, the topic you choose should be significant enough that it reveals something about who you are as a person.

Letters of Recommendation

Having teachers and guidance counselors write recommendations that are compelling on your behalf is another way to give yourself an advantage in the application process. These letters are intended to provide a perspective of who you are as a student and as a person that is held by a third party.

When asking for recommendations, you should strive to obtain one each from your guidance counselor and two teachers who teach in subject areas that are distinct from one another. It is in your best interest to solicit recommendations from educators with whom you have had recent interactions, such as those you had in your junior or senior year.

And, a major college application help tip, is to always never forget to get in touch with the instructors who know you the best and are able to attest to your accomplishments. One more choice is to inquire for recommendations from mentors, coaches, or spiritual leaders at work or at one’s place of worship.

Demonstrated Interest

The level of interest that students have shown in attending a particular college is one of the factors that colleges consider when making admissions decisions. There are instances in which a student’s demonstrated interest can play a role in determining whether or not they are admitted to a specific college.

If everything else remains the same, an applicant’s demonstrated interest can be the deciding factor in whether or not they are admitted to a program; therefore, it is important to do your homework.

Putting together a successful application for college can be compared to putting together pieces of a puzzle. A successful application is dependent on multiple aspects working together in conjunction with one another. For instance, a high-grade point average (GPA) by itself is not always the golden ticket to acceptance into a program.

A great college application help tip is that good grades might be impressive, but they won’t mean nearly as much if you don’t participate in any extracurricular activities and write essays that are below average.

In the end, the success of your application shouldn’t be contingent on the quality of a single component. You need to put together a complete application that includes not only your academics but also your extracurricular activities, essays, and any other relevant information.

At AdmissionSight, we have more than ten years of experience assisting students in navigating the difficult admissions process required to gain entry into the most prestigious educational institutions in the world. Feel free to set up an appointment today to book your initial consultation.

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