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College Application Power Tools

The college application process is filled with an array of paperwork, choices and opportunities. This time-consuming route to the university, although very rewarding, can also be extremely stressful, and you may encounter several splinters along the way. Current economic circumstances are causing many colleges to enforce budget cuts, decreasing the number of accepted students, thus making admission to colleges even more competitive. However, by hammering away at organization, research and preparation, one can still find themselves with many desirable acceptance offers.

Keeping this in mind, it is important to strategize and focus while working on college applications. Below are some "power tools" that will help students and parents take control of the college application process and proceed with confidence.

PLAN With competition for college acceptance at an all-time high, you want to make sure you have researched a variety of universities. Create a list of prospective colleges: Include several dream schools, but make sure to also include schools in which the average GPA and test scores correlate to your own.

ORGANIZE - Develop an organizational chart listing all the colleges to which you are applying. List application deadlines and required documents for each college. Universities differ in their requirements; make sure you know which colleges require specific standardized tests and/or letters of recommendation.

WRITE - Some universities open up their applications during the summer. If the schools you are applying to offer this option, begin your applications in a timely manner. Furthermore, some universities offer early action/early decision application deadlines. It is to your advantage to meet these deadlines, as applying early may increase your chances of acceptance.

EXPECT - Successfully completing college applications is time consuming. Expect to spend time writing multiple versions of your essays and carefully proofreading each application. Schedule time each day to work on your applications.

REQUEST - Identify several teachers from whom you will request a strong letter of recommendation. Admissions officers read these letters carefully, you should be confident these teachers will write a letter that speaks favorably of you.

The satisfaction of successfully completing the college application process is deeply gratifying. These "power tools" will help guide you through the process. Good luck!


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