How to make your college admissions process smoother

Filling out your college applications can be one of the most harrowing experiences many students go through.The college application process is always fraught with peril. Potential students have to worry about putting together their records in a manner that makes them clear and readable for admissions officers, the stress of filling out essays or other extra information, and the constant concern over whether they will be admitted. And they have to do all of this while remaining focused on their current school work, part- or full-time jobs and families.

Whether you’re preparing for your freshman year at a new college, transferring from one academic institution to another or returning to school after taking a break to pursue a degree in medical assisting or become a pharmacy technician, getting through the application process can be a daunting task. In order to survive it there are several steps you can take that can make the process smoother and simpler.

Get organized

Before you begin sending in your admissions material, you’ll want to make sure you have everything organized.1 Take every record you have from your academic career, even if you’re not sure if they will be required for admission, and separate them into files that are marked appropriately. That might mean designating them by year, subject or level of achievement, depending on the schools in which you are interested.

Since a lot of schools want to see essays or personal statements, you should also have a separate section with ideas and notes about topics you can cover for those documents.

Pay attention to details

Dealing with the unknown is a major component of stress in any situation. In college admissions, that means worrying about errors you may have missed and how the school you’re applying to judges applicants. In order to get out ahead of those unknowns you’ll want to do two things: review everything you submit in detail and research the admissions policies of the schools you are considering.

When it comes to reviewing your admission materials, make sure to go over everything you submit at least three times, checking thoroughly for any errors, typos or grammatical issues. Then, find someone else with a background in writing, editing or research to look it over as well.

You should also do some simple research into what it takes to get into the school of your choice.2 What type of metrics do they rely on to make their decisions? Is there any information available that might help you focus on certain aspects of the application?

If you apply these principles, your admission process should go smoothly.

1 “Tips for Preparing your College Application,” Bigfuture.org. https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/get-in/applying-101/tips-for-preparing-your-college-application
2 O’Shaughnessy, Lynn, “5 Tips for Acing College Applications,” CBS News, Sept. 13, 2013. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-500395_162-57602349/

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