How to approach the college admission process

Tis’ the time of the year to get busy… It’s college application time! High school seniors struggle in deciding which schools are right for them, presenting the perfect mix of academics, social life, location, financial aid and future career growth opportunities. College Advisors provide essay writing workshops, FAFSA seminars, career guidance, and all they can think of to ease the pathway towards higher education choices. But what concerns students the most is submitting a successful application package.

Every year, thousands of applications are sent to colleges all over the U.S. Admissions committees looking into them judge each application based on several factors. What are they? Which are more important? Which less?

While many applications are approved, some do get rejected and the rejected students are left wondering why this happened. What made their application less effective that the others? The answer to this is that now-a-days admissions officers are looking for a lot more than just personal style and interests in college application.

A successful college application is one that showcases intelligence, personality and above all a passion for learning. As a student you should bring out your inner personality and not try take up things just to make an impression and get into college. Gimmicks such as enrolling into some special extracurricular classes or taking up some special learning programs are something that professors see through very well. So, it isn’t effective to be tactful just to get admission.

Instead, what colleges seek is ‘Demonstrated Interest’ or real appeal as to why students like the college to which they are applying. This should be presented in a genuine and true way. The reason for such expectations is that colleges are no longer seeking students to join them in numbers. Instead, they want students to seek them out with specific learning purposes in mind and they want them to bring out such expectations in a focused and thoughtful way. In short, they want quality students that value their institutions and learning methodologies.

Start by showing how valuable you can be to the college, what you can give back, and how you will grow from within their institution to become an exemplary member of their alumni. You can portray this through the college application essay. 

In your college essay, you need to bring out yourself in a casual way and not sounding clichéd. Professors instantly take to students who project themselves openly, and with a level of mature thinking. Be sure to project yourself as a serious student with good marks in academics, or achievements in sports, or other leadership-related activities where you have excelled. Extra-curricular activities are not as important. Furthermore, if you have not done well in a particular semester or you did mess up things, mention it. Hard as it may be, being honest here does count, rather than hoping the professor will let it pass by.

During the interview project yourself as calm, confident and able to handle your responsibilities well. This may sound like a big line, but it is actually very simple to do, if you organize yourself well.

So, after knowing this information, here is probably the most important professional advice I can give: Be true to yourself! Represent yourself as close to reality as possible, let your personality, likes, aspirations, and vision come through your application. Admissions officers will then be able to evaluate your candidacy and really assess whether you are the right fit for their school or not. If you are not, you will not want to be there anyway, since you will most probably be miserable – this does happen, and it is unfortunate. Put your out most effort in providing the best portrayal of yourself, created with excellence and dedication. The decision will be positive if it is the right fit – college admissions are experts at evaluating candidates, and they will know.

Seek a school not because of its “brand name” but because it provides the type of environment where you will thrive, and because it will add tremendous value to your life. This is what achieving success in the application process really means!



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