How To Avoid College Rejection: Application Tips For Future Students
Do you believe entering college in the USA is hard and almost impossible? Let me cheer you up a little: according to the national survey of the latest crop of college freshmen, 75% of graduates got into their No. 1 college. And most significantly, about 93% of them got accepted into at least one of their top three picks, according to the latest annual UCLA survey of the first-year students.
I’m not saying that you don’t need to study at all – good marks are still one of the key factors for successful college admission. But you definitely should believe in yourself and dream big – and, of course, work hard. So, what do you need to avoid getting a college rejection letter?
Let’s start with the basics
Most of the following tips may seem obvious to you, but since not all graduates take them into account, I decided to say a few words about these crucial things. Let’s assume that you have chosen the college and the program you want to apply for – and if you don’t, I recommend you to get back to my post later when you make a decision.
First, you probably know the most common requirements for university admission that is:
- Standardized test scores – SAT, ACT, TOEFL (for international students)
- Grade point average
- School report
- Letters of recommendation
- Application essay
- And last but not the least – college application itself
Let’s take a closer look
The tests like the SAT and ACT have been discussed a lot over the last years. As there are quite a lot of critics who believe that your test scores shouldn’t determine your chances to get into university, many colleges allow you to decide whether you want to submit your scores or not. Other schools let you decide which test scores to submit so that you could choose the best and the most appropriate ones. Anyway, the standardized tests remain one of the factors that most universities consider, so my first advice is to prepare for testing regardless of what college you’re going to apply for.
However, the more significant factors are thought to be your grades, academic and extracurricular activities, and personal achievements. So, it’s essential to be academically prepared and have a realistic view of your actual knowledge and skills so that they match the college standards. Moreover, your activities outside of the classroom also matter – they show how ambitious, determined, and creative you are.
Letters of recommendation and essays are not obligatory for all colleges, but they can significantly increase your chances of acceptance if written properly. To get a recommendation that will highlight all your personal and academic strengths, ask a teacher you get along well with. I don’t think that flattering is a good idea – if you’re doing great and really like their subject, they will write an honest recommendation that will show you to the best advantage.
Finally, the most exciting part – let’s discuss how to write an essay so that the University of your dreams won’t be able to reject your application!
Writing a successful entrance essay: what to do?
Decent schools usually require you to write an essay to determine how thoughtful and creative you are. That is a great way to express your uniqueness, explain why you want to enter this particular university, and show that you meet the high standards of the college. At the same time, don’t go overboard with the creativity as you don’t want to seem too eccentric writing an application essay.
The essay is the only part of admission you have total control over. So, do your best to impress the admissions committee:
- First, you need to pick a topic. Think of something that will highlight all your most important skills and personal traits. If you have problems figuring them out, start with making a list of all your strengths and don’t hesitate to ask teachers, friends, and the family to help you.
- Some colleges offer their applicants a particular question to answer with an essay. If that is your case – don’t reinvent the wheel and start your paper with the answer. Then, all you need to do is to develop your idea uniquely and logically.
- Give yourself some time to think about the question and the topic. Start brainstorming in advance to think the essay theme and the structure through.
- The chosen topic should be connected with the program you apply for. Tie its specific to your career goals or to your academic and personal experience.
- Come up with a catchy title and an intriguing first sentence – that way you will draw a reader’s attention, and odds are an admission officer will read the whole essay.
- Stick to the chosen point of view throughout the essay. This may seem obvious but if your paper isn’t structured enough, you may get off track and send mixed signals to the reader.
- To avoid getting lost, your essay should be well organized. Stick to the three-part structure – the introduction, the main part, the conclusion – and dedicate every paragraph to one subtopic.
- Showcase your writing skills since the admissions officers pay special attention to those as well as to the topic.
- Don’t forget about grammar – you don’t want to make any spelling or punctuation mistakes. If you’re not sure how to spell a word, use dictionaries or ask an English teacher to help you.
- After the first draft is done, edit it and check it thoroughly at least twice. Firstly, check spelling and grammar, and secondly, pay attention to the actual sense. Give yourself some time to relax and edit the essay after a while so that you could easily notice minor hiccups. Finally, proofread it once more to avoid any misprints or mistakes.
What to avoid when writing an entrance essay?
Take the following tips into account as well, to write an essay as impeccable as possible:
- Your essay doesn’t have to be long – don’t go past the limit of 600-700 words. As admissions officers have to read tons of essays, they definitely prefer your paper to be laconic.
- Don’t use the resume information in the essay. Admissions officers don’t want to read the same things twice, so tell them something new that you couldn’t present in other application papers.
- Don’t ramble – you need to focus on a particular topic and develop the idea until you come to the logical conclusion. It may be a specific quality, interest or unique life experience which you should tie to the educational program you’d like to take.
- Don’t lie or misrepresent yourself. It’s pretty easy to find out whether you’re saying the truth or just trying to impress the admission officer.
- Don’t use your old essays or, even worse, others – that’s called plagiary and that is unacceptable for a future student. Always use your own new ideas applying to a new college.
The point is to explain what distinguish you from other applicants and how your knowledge and unique life experience will help you in education. It’s nice if you could make a compelling story that engages an audience – it will be much better than just a list of reasons why you want to enter this particular college.
If you manage to apply all these tips when writing an entrance essay – which isn’t actually that hard – you may be pretty sure that your essay will be on the top of the stack and the admission officer will definitely consider you as a future freshman!
Also, you should work hard to get great marks and pass the tests, partake in school activities, behave yourself to get an excellent recommendation – that isn’t too much to ask, is it? And maybe your college application will be successful after all! Just kidding – it probably will be successful. Just don’t forget about the essay, deal?