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Applying to College
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Choosing the right college for you is among the most difficult choices you've ever had to make, so it's difficult to get all the information you need into one blog post, but below are some of the most important things you should consider:
Two Tips on Selecting a College
· Don’t focus on just one college. You may have always wanted to go to Harvard or Ohio State, but there are thousands of colleges out there (more than 4,000 in the United States alone). By using criteria that’s important to you (choose at least three items, but don't go overboard), you can find colleges that are right for you. Applying to colleges that meet your criteria can open up a whole new world of choices for you. After all, you need to apply to more than one college. In fact, you need at least six times that many.
· Don’t apply to too many colleges. Applying to more than one doesn’t mean applying to dozens in the hope that one will accept you. If you’ve done your research properly, according to criteria you’ve selected, you’ll find colleges where you’re a good fit, even if it’s a college you didn’t expect. Maybe a college you thought you’d never consider.
Two Tips on Applying to Colleges
· SAT and ACT scores are important, but not all-important. Even at colleges with a college board minimum score, SAT and ACT scores aren’t the first thing they consider. What you want is an SAT score that’s consistent with your grades. A high score and low grades shows you might be a lazy student; a low score with high grades might show poor preparation or an inability to handle pressure. Of course, a good SAT or ACT prep course with practice questions, timed tests, a vocabulary builder and more can help you in both the classroom and at the test center, keeping your performance consistent.
· Use your application essay to shine. Another way to shine is through the application essay. Make sure it’s original, germane to the college to which you are applying, and highlights your strengths and opinions. Read it over thoroughly, have it checked over by someone else and prepare to rewrite.
One Tip on Accepting a College’s Admissions Offer
· Review your financial aid package carefully. Mistakes are not uncommon, and our counselors have seen an increase in the number of mistakes over the years. It’s not always easy to get a mistake corrected, and even more difficult to know if the college made you a good offer in the first place. Appealing for more aid is a specialty that requires patience and the right approach. But it starts with knowing if you’ve received a good financial aid offer. Review it carefully (preferably with a college prep expert).
Applying to colleges and accepting their offers is a 6-8 month process that includes completing the application and filling out all those financial aid forms. Be diligent. If you’re an underclassmen, you have time to thoroughly research your college choices, but start as early as you can. It’s a lot of work. Start now!
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