Tips from a Los Angeles College Admissions Consultant: 5 Ways to Streamline the College Application Process
It’s that time of year; students are filling out numerous college applications in hopes of being accepting to one of their dreams schools. Some students will also be filling out financial aid and scholarship forms while preparing to take the SAT or ACT. Throw in a couple of advanced placement classes, and students won’t be able to leave their desk until January. This can be a very stressful and overwhelming time, but there are some ways students can streamline the college application process, so they get through it successfully and still have the energy to go to class through the end of June – get into your first choice for college with the help of our Los Angeles college admissions consultants.
1. Consult a college counselor
It’s really important that college applicants speak to a college counselor before they get too far through the process. Students can work with a college counselor provided by their high school or work with one privately. Whatever they decide, it’s important to consult a professional who is up-to-date on all of the latest changes that take place each year. College counselors can give sound technical advice but can also advise students on reasonable options as well as help them locate excellent colleges and universities they may not have originally considered.
2. Leave extra time
A lot of the stress involved in the college application process arises because students run out of time. A well-intentioned student will plan to sit down on a Saturday morning and write their college essays but then find out they have a last minute advanced placement assignment due Monday morning. Somehow the college applications get pushed to the next week, and the process becomes more stressful. Students who leave plenty of extra time will find that a hectic academic or extracurricular schedule is not as detrimental as it seems.
3. Create an outline
Just as students will create an outline to write an essay for an English class, they can write an outline for the college admissions process. It’s helpful if students can start by writing a paragraph or a list of what is most important to them in their college experience. This way, if they get overly stressed later on, they can refer to their ‘top five’ lists to help them move forward. Next, students should compile a list of all the colleges they are considering applying to and research what each college requires in advance. When students prepare in this way, they avoid last-minute surprises that can be time-consuming and stressful. Finally, students are encouraged to write an extended outline of what their essay might discuss. This way, they can show it to the college counselor or tutor before they have taken the time to write an entire first draft (Read: Navigating the Basics of the College Application Process).
4. Focus on the personal statement
Another essential element of college admissions is the personal statement or essay. Students are encouraged to spend as much time on this as is necessary. Other than good organization and editing skills, there aren’t any shortcuts. This is the student’s primary opportunity to show potential colleges what they’re about and what makes them special. Students applying on the common application will usually get to choose from three or four essays. It’s worth the time to write two separate essays if the student feels they have something important to say on more than one topic. Once students have a good first draft, they can take it to their tutor or college counselor who can help them determine what might need to be changed or clarified regarding content. Once the content is concise and unique, students can begin to focus on editing.
5. The technical aspects
In addition to writing a personal statement, students will have to fill out tons of forms that become repetitive. They’ll be writing down personal information for what will seem like days on end. Students are encouraged to break up this task into smaller increments to avoid becoming overwhelmed. They can also enlist family members to provide a second pair of eyes and make sure that each field is complete. If students forget to provide, technical information colleges may send the packet back to them to be completed. This takes a lot of time and, if students just barely met the due date, their application might be disregarded as incomplete.
Our Los Angeles college admissions consultants have a 97% success rate! Call us today for more information.
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