The Application Components
1. HIGH SCHOOL TRANSCRIPT
- Courses taken, grades earned
- Cumulative GPA
- Balance and strength of curriculum
- Consistency of performance
2. SAT/ACT TEST RESULTS
- Not all schools require standardized tests.
- Most schools have a minimum test score, but the test results are generally viewed in combination with other factors.
- Compatibility of the test scores with high school achievement.
- Most only look at your best scores on the ACT/SAT.
- Each test has a different format so consider taking both!
- Test dates are already posted online (SAT offers tests 7 times a year and ACT offers 5 test dates per year).
- Have your official scores sent directly to colleges of interest.
3. ESSAYS / PERSONAL STATEMENTS
- Use the essay as an opportunity to give your application more depth.
- Not all schools require an essay or personal statement.
- Colleges will look at content, style, mechanics, and creativity.
- There are three types of essays: Creative, About You and Why Us?
- Approach the essay like you would an English assignment. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to work on the statement (brainstorm, write, re-write and edit). Check that your writing is organized and that it sticks to a theme.
- Ask someone you trust to review the final document.
- Remember that admission counselors are reading hundreds of these; longer does not mean better. Your essay should be in your voice and not in the vocabulary structure of British literature.
4. LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
- Colleges use letters to discover student contributions to school and community, to learn more about students personal traits, and to get to know the student better. If your application is borderline, this can push it in the positive direction.
- Give your recommenders plenty of lead time - they often have many letters to write in a short amount of time.
- Attach a resume that includes school and community activities.
- Don't use abbreviations for clubs.
- Neatness, organization and spelling count.
- Be sure to post your name at the top of the resume.
- Colleges look for quality of activities; not quantity; depth of involvement rather than breadth; evidence that an applicant knows the value of perseverance and investment in a goal; demonstration of leadership; and balance in activities.
6. MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS
- Portfolio reviews for Art majors
- Creative writing pieces for English majors
- Laboratory reports for Science majors
- Auditions for Music and/or Drama majors