4 Small Ways to Strengthen Your College Applications This School Year

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When it comes to getting into college, there’s no magic formula for crafting the perfect college application. However, there are several things you can do to strengthen your college application and to make getting into your dream schools easier. You can strengthen your college applications this school year by applying early, getting high-quality letters of recommendation, and writing a stand-out college essay. 

Are you applying to colleges this fall and hoping to submit the strongest application possible? Keep reading to learn four small ways to strengthen your college applications this school year. 

1. Strengthen your college applications by applying early

One of the strongest ways to convey your interest to a college or university and to increase your chances of admission is to apply under Early Action or Early Decision. When applying early, you typically send your application in by November or early December and hear back about their decision within several weeks. This is different from a regular application, where you send your application by early winter and get a response in the spring.

You can only apply Early Decision to one school, so it’s important to make it your first choice. If you do get into a college through Early Decision, you must enroll at that college or university and withdraw your applications to other schools (with few exceptions). 

2. Strengthen your college applications by obtaining great letters of recommendation

College applications almost always ask for letters of recommendation. You can make your application stand out by putting the strongest possible letters of recommendation in your application. Start by asking your favorite teacher for a letter. If he or she seems too busy or unenthusiastic, ask another, until you find someone who is very excited to provide you with a letter. This way, you’re more likely to get a letter that conveys such enthusiasm about you.

When you find teachers to write your letters of recommendation, it’s helpful to give them each a copy of your resume. This way, they can include references to your accomplishments in their letter. 

3. Strengthen your college applications by focusing in-depth on included content 

Many students fall into a trap of listing all extracurricular activities they were involved in during high school on their applications. They do so because they mistakenly believe more is better. In reality, colleges are looking for quality, not quantity. This means you should only list and describe extracurricular activities that fall into any or all of the following categories: 

  • You were a part of it for an extended period of time 
  • You played a significant role in it
  • It has made the most profound impact on your life

These should be included on your application. Do not include extracurriculars that you dropped out of after a short time or never followed through with.

4. Strengthen your college applications by writing a college essay that stands out

The college essay is one of the most daunting parts of the college application for many students. To write a stand-out college essay, focus on writing about something that’s very important to you, and reflect on it. Sometimes, it can be helpful to write several drafts of your essay before settling on the final version. You may also want to ask a friend or teacher to read over your personal essay before adding it to your application. 

When writing your personal statement, avoid repeating other parts of your application. Do not list, repeat, or contradict other parts of your application in your essay. In other words, don’t spend time listing your awards in this section. Admissions officers are looking for interesting details about you that best exhibit your character and show them that you’d be a good fit on their campus. 

[RELATED: How to Write a Great College Essay]

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