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    The College Application Overview
     
    An admission application is your voice to the admission committee.  
     
    Each application consists of many components:
    • Background Information
    • Transcript
    • Test scores
    • Essay/Personal Statement
    • Short Answer Questions
    • Resume/Activity Sheet
    • Letter(s) of Recommendation
    • Interview (usually optional, some colleges do not offer at all)
    All of these elements put together help you present yourself to the college admissions committee. Following is more information on each part of the application file:
     
    BACKGROUND INFORMATION
    • Gives the admission committee a quick snapshot of where you come from
     
    TRANSCRIPT
     
    The admission committee is looking not only at your grades but also:
    • The rigor and fullness of your curriculum based on what is available for you to take
    • Have you met minimum entrance requirements or have you gone beyond?
    • Grade trends (upward, hopefully.  if not, explain elsewhere)
    • Strengths in particular subject areas and whether they correlate with the intended major

    Of course, all of these factors are considered within the school's context. 

    Keep your grades up in the senior year.  In some cases, the fall grades will be considered in the admission decision.  Spring grades should be strong because admission is always conditional until the final transcript is accepted by the college. 
     
    TEST SCORES
    • Scores will always be considered appropriately
    • Visit http://www.fairtest.org to learn about test optional colleges
    ESSAY/PERSONAL STATEMENT
    • Your chance to communicate directly with the admissions committee
    • Don't be too safe, but don't attempt to be too provocative or take too many risks
    • It should tell a story
    • It should tell something that makes you different than other applicants
    SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS
    • These should be as well crafted as your essay
    • Sloppiness and last minute writing is clearly evident
    • Use the opportunity to answer optional questions, if needed
    RESUME/ACTIVITY SHEET
    • Be as detailed as possible within formatting guidelines
    • About quality not quantity
    • Stay away from acronyms, even if commonly used in your community
    • Some students will be well-rounded; others will be very angular
    • This should answer the question, "What do you do with your spare time?"
    • Think broadly about the term activities (i.e., caring for a sibling is a valid activity)
    LETTER(S) OF RECOMMENDATION
    • Pay attention to who you are asking to write a letter
    • Multiple letters should present different aspects of you and your involvements
    • The thicker the file, the thicker the student; don't overdo it!!
    • How important someone is doesn't matter if that individual doesn't know you well enough to tell the admission committee about you
    INTERVIEW
    • Often optional 
    • Your time should be spent on preparing your application, not just focusing on the interview
    • If you do interview, you should be prepared to talk about yourself and not just the things presented in your application
    • Click here for info to help you prepare for a college interview
     
    SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS
     
    Supplemental materials may be required for your intended major.  This can include:
    • A statement of purpose
    • A portfolio
    • An audition
    • An interview
    OVERALL
    • Follow directions
    • Don't wait until the last minute
    • Demonstrate that you have done your research about the school (Don't say that you crave a small intimate environment when you are applying to a large public university)
    • Neatness and presentation count
    • Explain anything that is unusual or different (gaps, trends, involvement)
    • Show the admission committee what makes you unique
    • There is generally no preference for doing the application on paper or online
    • Common Application (No preference for CA over school applications and pay attention to supplements)
    • Always put your best foot forward in everything you do

     

    The information provided here is from the Western Association for College Admissions Counseling  (WACAC) website:  http://www.wacac.org