Year in Review: Best College Admission Advice of 2015
As 2015 draws to a close, we’re looking back at the college admissions advice we’ve given you and have selected seven of the best tips to remember as we head into 2016. The tips cover everything from saving money for college and exploring campuses to writing better admissions essays and how to deal with college rejections.
1. You can start saving money for college now—even as early as your high school sophomore year.
It’s never too early to start saving money for college or applying for college scholarships. As a high school sophomore, you can enter essay contests, get a part-time job, sell some of your old electronics or other items you no longer need, use the library (instead of paying for Netflix or RedBox) to “rent” movies and more.
2. You can explore colleges even before visiting the campus in person.
Technology makes it easy to get a taste of what different colleges are like, before you spend the time and money to visit the campus in person. Look for virtual campus tours on each college’s website or check out the college’s social media feeds. In addition, you can look for pre-college programs you can attend in the summer to boost your interest in certain academic areas and get acquainted with a college campus.
3. When applying to colleges, don’t forget the application fees.
Knowing how many colleges to apply to is difficult, because it’s different for every person. But as you decide how many colleges is the right amount for you to apply to, consider how much it costs to apply (usually at least $50 or more per school), because you don’t want to break the bank applying to, say 10 colleges, when there are really only five you’re truly considering.
4. The most common college application essay mistake is mentioning the wrong university’s name.
Although it may be okay to reuse a college application essay and adapt its content for another school’s application, it’s important to proofread it before you hit Submit. Avoid this common college application essay error by double checking that any mentions of the school name matches the school you are applying to.
5. Don’t overlook proofreading when submitting college application or scholarship essays.
Most college admissions officials agree that proofreading your essays and application forms is the most important thing you can do before you submit them. Some strategies to help with proofreading include running a spell check, setting it aside for a day and then coming back to read it with fresh eyes, reading it aloud and reading it backwards.
6. Boost your admission resume by making good use of your school breaks.
How you use your summer break from school can tell admissions officials a lot about you. So, consider spending time during school breaks earning money for college, applying for scholarships, doing a job shadow, studying for the ACT or SAT, attending a pre-college summer program, visiting colleges or volunteering.
7. It’s okay if you’re denied admission.
It can open up new opportunities.
While getting a dreaded college application rejection letter can be a real bummer in the moment, it’s important to keep things in perspective and keep your mind open to other possible colleges that could be just as good as your first choice.