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College 101

Advice From Current Students: The Application Process
Article Type: Connect

Student from Georgetown University:

Start early—better to be safe than sorry. Most people procrastinate until the week before applications are due, then really screw themselves over by writing subpar essays in what is likely to be the most competitive college applications year ever. Give yourself the time you need to write your best work, because now is when it really matters and a 2 AM essay just won’t cut it.

Write essays from the perspective of who’s going to be reading them: admissions officers, which include deans and professors. As a result, you want to be highly academic, but also be interesting and show your funny side (if you have one; don’t try to be funny if you aren’t).

 Lastly, don’t view college essays as a chore or as homework that you have to do, because if you do it’ll become clear in the tone. Instead, think about the college application process as a valuable opportunity for introspection, to discover what about yourself you are most proud of and to show it off to people whose job it is to discover others like yourself.

Student from Harvard University:

Think about what you like doing and what you’d like to continue doing in college. What kind of unique point of view do your personal experiences offer? How do you want others to see you as a person? I guess those are a few good questions to get you started. Also, do your research – each college is different and you want to make sure you’d enjoy being wherever you end up. Also, it’s good to form good relationships with teachers you like – these are probably the ones you’ll ask to write your recommendations and the more they know you as a person, the more they’ll have to say about you. Plus, they tend to be pretty cool people once you get to know them as well.

 Student from Northwestern University:

 Start your essays early and send them to as many people as possible. Send them to teachers and parents as well as people your age - both types of feedback are valuable for different reasons. Ask your close friends to describe you in three words. Using their feedback and your own judgment, decide what kind of person you want to be to admissions officers, and build your essays / application up to that image. Above all, be honest and speak in your own voice.

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