Top 10 Applying to college tips

Get a kid to watch you write your essays.

My 7-year old cousin wanted to see what “college stuff” was all about, so he sat next to me while I was writing a scholarship essay. It usually takes me HOURS to come up with a couple of halfway decent sentences, but I finished that essay in less than an hour to impress him with my typing speed and ~advanced~ vocabulary. Try it!

Appy to Penn State instead of UPenn.

Penn State is much easier to get into, and since most confuse the two, lots of people will still be impressed at your "Ivy League" education!​​preety please? i'm so nervous right now.

DON'T RE-READ YOUR ESSAYS AFTER YOU SUBMIT

Tips for Editing Your College Essay

You may think that once you’ve gotten a draft done that you’re good to go. Not so! Editing is one of the most important parts of writing the best college essay possible, and here are two essential college essay tips for editing.

College Essay Tips: Key Takeaways for a Great College Essay

To recap, here’s our 13 tips for the best college essay ever: College Essay Planning Tips:

  • Create a plan of attack for all of your essays so you can keep track of everything.
  • Start early—at least two months before the due date, if not more.
  • Choose the right prompt and topic for you.
  • Decide between a narrative or a thematic approach to the topic.
  • Outline before you start writing! College Essay Writing Tips:
  • Use vivid, specific details.
  • Be genuine—get beyond the superficial.
  • Be unique, but not bizarre.
  • Avoid cliches and platitudes; they are boring and unimaginative. College Essay Editing Tips:
  • Get other people to look at your essay.
  • Be prepared to change, cut, and rearrange a lot! Final Tips for College Essays:
  • Make sure your first sentence is stellar.
  • Triple check for typos and grammatical errors! Imagine the essay you could write about the time you painted Mr. Lurker's claws.

Bring specific questions.

Your interviewer will expect you to ask some questions about the school and talk about why you want to go there. Put some energy into coming up with creative questions with answers that cannot be easily found on the college's website

Practice like a prizefighter.

Being interviewed is a skill, and it requires practice. Sit down with one of your parents, a teacher, a college counselor, or a friend and have him or her ask you their best college interview questions. Answer them honestly and seriously. Then ask your "interviewer" how you came across. You'll also get better after each college interview, so try to arrange your schedule so that your last interviews are with the schools you care about most.

Prepare for common college interview questions.

Interviewers tend to ask about the same topics. If you’re prepared to answer the following interview questions, you’ll be golden.

  • Why do you want to attend this college/university? (Hint: Specific examples are always key! Your interviewer wants you to be as excited as they were–and are!—about their college).
  • What’s your favorite subject in high school?
  • What do you want to study in college?
  • What do you enjoy doing when you’re not in class?
  • What are three interesting things about you that I wouldn’t know from your application?
  • What’s an example of an obstacle, a failure, or a mistake that you learned from?

Be yourself

Remember, the key to getting admitted (and being happy at college) is finding your best fit school. You want to be yourself so that the person interviewing you can discern what you would add to the campus community. Before your interview, think about why the school appeals to you, what you want to study, and what you might do after graduation.

but be your best self.

You have many sides, so showcase the side of yourself that is professional, mature and poised.  Don't show up looking like you just peeled yourself off the couch—wear what makes you feel comfortable and and confident. Smile, and remember your interviewer wants the interview to go well too!

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