Deciding what you want your future career to be can be a hard thing to do. And if that’s not difficult enough, you then have to find and select a college to apply for. These 6 tasks will help make your college application process simple.

college-application-prep

Task #1 —Narrow down your dream career

First things first, it’s a good idea to have an idea of what job you want to have. Some people know exactly what they want to do and some are just like I was… undecided. If that’s you, don’t worry, most people don’t know their career goals yet either.

But even if you don’t know exactly what you want to do, it’s good to have an idea of where you want to start. The Quint Essentials website is a great tool to take advantage of. It’s full of assessments that help you discover things you never knew about yourself while pointing you towards a career that matches your personality.

Task #2 — Take a trip + visit the campus

Preparation is the key to everything! Once you have an idea of the subject that you might want to study, you can then look at universities that offer those undergraduate degrees. Make a list of the colleges you are most interested in and make sure to visit the campus before committing to it.

You never know, it could be completely different than you pictured. And you don’t want to spend money on an application and then decide you don’t like the location or layout of the campus.

If you choose to visit a university, make sure to bring a list of questions to ask. The last thing you want to do is leave with the same amount of information that you went in with. Check out this website to make sure you make the most of your visit!

Task #3 — Essays

Oh, this is always the fun part. Everyone loves writing essays, right? Haha I know, I hated it too! I never understood why they were required, and why the topics were so weird. But believe me, you will use them.

I have listed for you 5 essays that I recommend you write before starting the application process. Why before? Because they are the most commonly used essay topics, and you will find that you will send many of the same essays to different colleges. You can even use them to apply to scholarships as well!

You may have to tweak a few of them, but this way you won’t have to write a specific essay for each application. I mean, unless you want to write 20+ essays. Yeah, I didn’t think so.

  • Essay #1: “Write a one page, typed, double spaced essay of your education goals. Include your reasons for pursuing them and how a scholarship would assist you in achieving those goals.” (version 2)- “Write a one paragraph statement using the same prompt as version 1.”
  • Essay #2: “Write a one page essay describing ‘Why you deserve to receive this scholarship.’”
  • Essay #3: “Explain any unusual circumstances about your family situation that you think should be considered.”
  • Essay #4: “Write a one page narrative describing your reasons for applying for this scholarship and your career plans.”
  • Essay #5: “Write an essay in which you tell us about someone who has made an impact on your life and explain how and why this person is important to you.”

When you’re writing these essays think of them as a way for the admission staff to get to know you. Your essays are a way for you to stand out among the other applicants. So be honest, be confident, and make sure there are absolutely no grammatical errors. 

Task #4 — Letters of Recommendation

Many colleges rely on personal recommendations to round out an applicant’s formal application. Recommendations help the admission officers learn about an applicant.

Ask teachers, mentors and supervisors who know you well to write a letter for you. Make sure you present a balanced picture. This means you may not want to ask two teachers from the same study or activity. Make sure you select those who can present the strongest recommendation, and not necessarily the ones who are your favorites.

Writing letters takes time, and the person you ask may get several requests. So make sure to give them ample time to write and mail the letter before the deadline, and also provide them with addressed and stamped envelopes. It is ok to give a gentle reminder closer to the deadline. After all, teachers have a lot to juggle.

If you want a certain person to highlight a specific attribute, let them know so that they don’t repeat the same thing, therefore presenting a well-rounded picture of yourself. And last but not least, don’t forget to thank them for taking time to write and represent you.

Task #5 — Create and perfect your resume

The most important part of the entire process of college and scholarship applications is the resume. This is a place for you to showcase your life’s accomplishments in a direct way.

Things to list on your resume are: jobs, awards, clubs, volunteer work, sports, church participation, hobbies and anything else you have accomplished. If you do a lot of volunteer services, it is helpful to create an Excel document to help you keep track of all of your hours worked as well as the dates. Some applications want to know specific instances you served, so the more details you are able to keep track of the better.

I would also encourage you to look at others resumes, as well as sample resumes online to see what you may have left off of yours. Keep up with things you are doing and update your resume as needed.

Task #6 —Take the ACT & SAT

Many schools take scores for both ACT and SAT. The ACT is a set of 4 test (English, Math, Reading and Science) with the option of writing. The SAT consists of Reading and Math test (each has one 20 min, two 25 min) and Writing test (one 10 min, two 25 min).

Preparing for these test will improve your scores very much and ultimately get you into the best colleges with the best scholarships. There are many websites, books and tutors that can help you increase your scores.

Do you have any other college application tips? Let us know in the comments below!


Meet The Guest Blogger, Katherine Stephens:

“I have been sporting the title Stay-At-Home-Mom since August 2016 and I am so blessed that I am able to do so! A few of my favorite things, aside from snuggling my new baby girl, include crafting, shopping on Amazon, and binging on Netflix. I started my blog The Joys Of Motherhood to share how I’ve learned that life is full of joyful moments that we all wish to hold on to, and complications that we can’t wait to get past whether you’re a parent yet or not. I am thrilled to also offer product reviews, giveaways and anything else young women may relate to.”

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