Tips for Putting Together Strong College Applications

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Category: College Admissions, College Corner, College Counseling


The college application process is in full swing, and early application deadlines are around the corner, so Green Ivy wanted to offer some tips and best practices for students to keep up their momentum and put together the strongest applications possible.

  1. Take charge of the entire college application process. Remember, you are applying to college, not your parents. Actively managing this process on your own can, among other things, reap the benefit of self-discovery, increased maturity and the knowledge that you are college-ready.
  2. Pay attention to the details, and remember, neatness counts. They may seem small, but typos, grammatical or spelling errors can send a not-so-great message to admissions officers about the level of care you have about attending their university.
  3.  Write only the stories you can write. Don’t worry about what a “good” essay topic is, only what your best essay topic is. We ran several College Counseling Application Bootcamps this summer, and one of our favorite quotes on this issue came from a student. “You can’t mess up your own stories,” she said. “They’re yours.” Exactly! Write openly and honestly about your experiences, personal growth and the challenges you’ve faced, and the essay will follow.
  4. Answer every question as completely as you can. Optional essays aren’t really optional if you are seriously interested in a school, and it’s always a good idea to maximize any space provided to elaborate on your activities to do just that.
  5. Compile a list of everything you need to do from now to until individual application deadlines. Some students are applying to a mix of private schools, the UCs, CSUs and out of state public schools, which can mean upwards of four separate applications to complete. Now is the perfect time to get organized in terms of all the moving pieces of your application, from turning in teacher and counselor questionnaires to sending test scores and specific school deadlines.

We wish you all the best of luck in completing your applications before Winter Break!

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