The Do s When Applying for College

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1 The Do s When Applying for College FROM TRINITY COLLEGE DEAN OF ADMISSIONS LARRY DOW 1. DO choose a topic that is uniquely yours; it will be read among several thousand others. 2. DO write an essay that contributes a sense of your character that no other items in your folder can cover properly. 3. DO write an essay that is correct, proofread and contains no unforced errors such as mentioning the wrong college! FROM SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS ALEXIS HAAKONSEN 1. Be neat, organized and timely when submitting their application. 2. Apply early, or at least on time, to give as much time for processing and financial aid consideration. 3. Show their enthusiasm for a school in their communications (written & verbal) with admissions and other offices. 4. For their letters of recommendation, choose teachers who know them well who can convey a strong impression of them. 5. Have fun! They should enjoy this time and embrace the college search process as the incredible opportunity that it is. FROM WESTERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS JAY MURRAY 1. Do research about the college. 2. Ask questions in advance. 3. Proof-read and double-check the essay and application. 4. Meet deadlines. 5. Work with the high school guidance counselor they are experts in this process. FROM CONNECTICUT COLLEGE DEAN OF ADMISSION AND FINANCIAL AID MARTHA MERRILL 1. Spend time reflecting on who you are and what you want or expect out of your college experience. This will allow you to better articulate why a specific college or set of colleges is a good fit for you. 2. Spend time on the essay. The essay is your opportunity to help us get to know you beyond your academic credentials, and you want to make sure it is done well. I recommend working on the essay during the summer before senior year. 3. The best applicants also spend time thoughtfully answering an institution s writing supplement. This is an opportunity to tell the college admission staff something about yourself that they might not otherwise learn from the rest of the application. And these college-specific questions allow you to tailor your application to that institution. 4. If you have an opportunity, visit the colleges you plan to apply to. This can give you a better sense of the college s values and strengths and can help you determine if and why the college is one you d like to attend. 5. If you don t have the opportunity to visit, explore the college s website. And not just the homepage or the main academic pages. Dig deep into pages about majors, faculty, student clubs and organizations and other things that may be important to you. The more you know about an institution when you re applying, the more likely you can present yourself as a strong match. FROM CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS LARRY HALL 1. Make sure your interest in the school you re applying to is evident. This can be demonstrated through the essay and/or contact with the school. 2. Visit the college / university. 3. Make sure the application is complete and on time. 4. Provide positive references. 5. Apply for financial aid early. Got to ~ 1 ~

2 FROM SACRED HEART UNIVERSITY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS KEVIN O SULLIVAN 1. Research Students who take the time to research colleges, taking into consideration the academic profile of previously admitted students, academic programs and clubs/sports/recreational programs that are offered, size, location, setting, etc., oftentimes are the most prepared to make smart decisions about choosing the right schools to apply to. 2. Start Early / Pay Attention to Deadlines Students who have done the research and start the application process early generally have the most success because they are the most prepared for the process. They are less likely to make errors on their applications and often have the best letters of recommendation because they have allowed ample time for their teachers / counselors to put thoughtful consideration into their letters. 3. Demonstrate interest At Sacred Heart, we are interested in getting to know each applicant individually. As a result, we encourage students to visit campus, interview, attend information sessions or reach out via phone/ . It s the best way to identify how well a student will fit in to the campus community. 4. Essay If you don t have the opportunity to interview with a college, your essay becomes your interview on paper. It provides an identity to an otherwise repetitive process and allows you to show your uniqueness. Students who take time to craft a well-though, concise, creative essay often endear themselves to the admissions committee. 5. Letters of Recommendation It s important to identify the right people as recommenders. It s not always about getting the recommendation letter from a teacher whose class you received an A in. Students who can identify the recommender who can attest to a student s ability to respond to setbacks, overcome adversity and testify to a student s work ethic are often most valuable. FROM QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY VICE PRESIDENT AND DEAN OF ADMISSIONS JOAN MOHR 1. Provide all your information the application, your transcript, test scores, etc. WELL in advance of any deadlines. 2. Take advantage of any opportunity to interact with the college: come for an interview, a tour, a virtual chat session, an admissions counselor, attend an on-campus or local program. Show that you re interested in the college, however you can. 3. Search out scholarships. Use the search websites. Ask your counselor about local opportunities. Seek even small amounts of money toward your college education because it all helps. 4. Speak up about yourself. You can always give more information than the college asks for. Send a resume, an extra letter of recommendation, your senior year first marking period or mid-year grades to show how committed you are to your education. 5. Talk with your parents about your final decision: be sure it works for you academically, financially and socially. ~ 2 ~

3 The Don ts When Applying for College FROM TRINITY COLLEGE DEAN OF ADMISSIONS LARRY DOW 1. Don t use words such as plethora or others that are not part of your own daily vocabulary. 2. Don t try to predict what the admissions officer wants to read. You need to be yourself, and you don t know who will read your words. 3. Be creative, but DON T write an essay that represents a huge gamble: no outlandish humor, nor whining, sarcasm or pettiness. FROM SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS ALEXIS HAAKONSEN 1. Don t embellish information on the application. Students must be truthful in all aspects of their applications. 2. Don t make assumptions about what s required by a school. When in doubt, call the school and ask the question. 3. Don t miss deadlines. 4. Don t skip a visit to top choice schools. You want to make sure they re a good fit. 5. Don t forget to have your essays proofread. FROM WESTERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS JAY MURRAY 1. Don t use the same essay for every application and don t leave the name of a different college in the essay. 2. Don t let parents complete the application for the student. Often this is discovered in the Admissions Office because the parent s social security number of some other identifying information shows up where the student s information should be. 3. Don t forget to proofread. It s helpful to ask someone else to look over the application and essay before sending it. 4. Don t miss deadlines. This is probably the worse infraction. 5. Don t forget to research the school before submitting the application. For example, indicating you want to study a particular curriculum that is not even offered at the school. FROM CONNECTICUT COLLEGE DEAN OF ADMISSION AND FINANCIAL AID MARTHA MERRILL 1. One mistake students make is to not tell us if there are circumstances that may have affected their performance in high school. For example, if you have always had a high GPA but something happened in your life and your grades dipped at a certain point, tell us about it. 2. Another one we see is when students do not meet admission or financial aid application deadlines. Missing deadlines can sometimes mean your application will not be read or you may not be eligible for financial aid. 3. And another mistake is forgetting to relax and enjoy the process of searching for and applying to college. It should be an experience of self-exploration and one where you get to know yourself better. FROM CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS LARRY HALL 1. Don t forget to be yourself. Colleges are looking for individuality and uniqueness in prospective students. So put your best foot forward in the application process and dare to be you. 2. Don t write a cookie-cutter essay. No two schools are alike, so your essays shouldn t be either. When applying to schools, the essay and materials submitted should reflect the school to which you ve applied. 3. Don t pass on bad data. When self-reporting scores, GPA and rank make sure that the information is accurate. We do find out the truth when the official information is submitted. 4. Don t leave out information. Your application won t be accepted until you answer all of the necessary and/or required information. 5. Don t submit references that are not the most positive representation of you. ~ 3 ~

4 FROM SACRED HEART UNIVERSITY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS KEVIN O SULLIVAN 1. Don t forget to proofread. We receive about 8,500 9,500 applications every year from high school seniors applying for admission to the University. It continues to amaze me how hundreds of students don t take the time to proofread their applications. Errors range from incorrectly entering their personal information to choosing the wrong start term. However, the most common mistake regarding proofreading is when students submit essays with the wrong college listed in the essay! 2. Don t select the wrong application option. Each year we receive several applications from students indicating that they are applying as an Early Decision applicant. However, when the student is contacted about submitting the completed Early Decision contract, required to be considered as an Early Decision applicant, they say Oh, I don t want Early Decision, I want Early Action! Students oftentimes don t understand the different options and require further explanation of Early Decision, Early Action, Restrictive/Early Action-Single Choice, Regular Decision and Rolling Admissions. 3. Don t forget to keep an eye on deadlines. Students often don t allow enough time to complete their college applications and find themselves rushing to complete it. As a result, they miss the application deadlines and force school counselors to rush to get school forms submitted. 4. Don t apply and then forget to follow up. With the emergence of online applications and instant fee-waivers, and because of the ease and accessibility students have to apply through mobile devices, it s very common for students to apply on a whim, and forget to tell their school counselor that an application to a particular college was submitted. So while a student sits at home and waits for a decision, the school has never sent out the school forms because the counselor was unaware the student applied. When a student finally contacts the school to inquire about the status of their application, it s too late and letters of acceptance have already been offered! 5. Don t apply to a program the College doesn t offer. Students don t put enough effort into researching the schools they are applying to, or apply to the same school as their friends. As a result, they are unaware of the actual academic programs that a college offers, and oftentimes apply for a program that isn t even available at Sacred Heart (i.e. Architecture, Engineering). FROM QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY VICE PRESIDENT AND DEAN OF ADMISSIONS JOAN MOHR 1. Don t forget to pay attention to deadlines. Students often wait until the deadline date to file their application, when sending it in even a few days earlier can get them ahead of hundreds of other applicants, thousands if they file it a month prior to the deadline. 2. Don t forget to own the process. Fill out the application, write the essay, schedule visits to colleges and speak up in the application process. Most colleges get follow-up calls or s from the parents, not the students themselves. Be your own advocate! 3. Don t forget to proofread! If you re using the same essay or personal statement for a variety of colleges, be sure you change the name of the college each time! 4. Don t forget to explore all your options. Realize that there are a number of colleges out there which would be a great fit for you. Don t settle. If there s a college that interests you, apply! You never know if you would stand a chance unless you re in the game. 5. Don t lose focus in your senior year. Realize that the college that accepts you will ask for your final transcript and if your grades slip a lot from who you were when they admitted you, you run the risk of being uninvited to enroll. 6. Don t forget to watch your public profile. Although I doubt most colleges have the time to check your Facebook account, if something peaks their interest they may just make the time. FROM FAIRFIELD UNIVERSITY S UNDERGRADUATE DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS KAREN PELLEGRINO 1. Don t make yourself into who you think a college wants rather than choosing a college that values what you will bring. I often hear students (or parents) ask questions about what they can do to make themselves more attractive to x college: what activities, classes, etc. I think a better question is to consider what a student likes / is good at and then find a college that will offer an opportunity to strengthen those characteristics. 2. Don t apply to many colleges that have a similar academic profile. Students are applying to more and more schools, but often their list is not very well rounded. It might be comprised of schools that are all of similar academic profile, so there is a good chance that the decision made by one will be made my many of them. That will be fine if it is a positive decision, but if it is a negative one, it could leave a student with limited options. ( more on next page ) ~ 4 ~

5 FROM FAIRFIELD UNIVERSITY S UNDERGRADUATE DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS KAREN PELLEGRINO (cont). 3. Don t spend a great deal of time researching your dream or reach school and limited time thinking about the safer choices. The college admission world is volatile and it is difficult to predict from one year to the next what a decision might be. Sometimes a student is not admitted to those reach schools, and they will choose between schools in which they are not truly interested, or those they have not well researched. 4. Don t seek too much help with an application, allowing someone else to write an essay. There are many well intentioned people in students lives who sometimes offer too much assistance to students. The result is often an essay that is not authentic, and doesn t sound like it s written in the student voice. 5. Don t send too much information. Students sometimes try to find a gimmick in the application process, something they feel will make them memorable in the admission process. These items often make good stories, but do little if anything to help a student s admission chances. Similarly, sometimes students simply send too much information: too many writing samples, too many recommendations. The result is that an admission committee might not read everything and might miss the item (writing sample, recommendation) that really gives the most information about the student. 6. Don t supply multiple addresses. Students should choose one simple address for the college admission process and use it! Often students send the address they might use with their friends and an admission officer cannot help but question how they got that address! ~ 5 ~

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