Application Tips - Iowa College Access Network - ICAN

Application Tips

Colleges get hundreds or thousands of admission applications every year, depending on the size of the school. Obviously, it's easy for your application to blend into the mass of paper. As with anything else, though, the more you know about making your application stand out, the more likely it is you'll be accepted.

  • Know what to do. Just understanding the materials and steps involved in an admission application will help you be comfortable with the process.
  • Give yourself time. It's easy to put things off when they're not due for a while and you're busy with school, jobs, activities and friends. Remember, colleges are using this information to decide whether they should admit you. Don't leave it until the last minute.
  • Give others plenty of time. Ask for letters of recommendation well before they're needed. Ask as early as the beginning of your senior year. You'll also need the letters to prepare scholarship applications.
  • Do it all. Answer every question and fill in every blank. If an item doesn't apply to you, write "not applicable" or "n/a."
  • Do it all well. You should proofread your application yourself and have at least one other person look it over as well. This step is very important because typos and sloppy handwriting will be noticed by admission counselors.
  • Stand up for yourself. This is your chance to show off your skills and point out the things that make you the best person you can be.
  • Be on time. Although many schools don't have specific admission deadlines, don't make any assumptions. You'll regret missing the cutoff date because you aren't aware of it. Check out the types of deadlines.
  • Follow up. Allow three to four weeks for the school to receive and review your mailed application. If you haven't heard anything by then, contact the college to make sure they received everything. For online and e-mailed applications, you should get a confirmation receipt within 24 hours.

 

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