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How to write a great college application

Tackling college applications may seem daunting at first, but after organizing your tasks and starting early, they can be effectively finished and maximize your chances of getting into the dream school you are striving for.

Tackling college applications may seem daunting at first, but after organizing your tasks and starting early, they can be effectively finished and maximize your chances of getting into the dream school you are striving for.

Megan Tran, Santa Fe Managing Editor

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In high school, it is essential for upcoming juniors and seniors to prepare for their futures as our secondary education comes to a close. While college may seem too far into the future, it creeps up much faster than expected. Therefore, knowing the steps necessary to construct an effective college application that will increase your chance of attending the dream school you are striving for is crucial.

If you plan on applying to several colleges it is a wise idea to start your applications early. I started mine the summer of my junior year so I could plan out when I needed to retake the ACT and if I needed to add any other extracurriculars.

Applications are not a one-day process; they take time to build and perfect. For your college essay question, brainstorm all the possible ideas you can think of so you can have a clear train of thought when writing it. The planning stage may be even more tedious than writing the actual essay, so once this step is out of the way, everything else will fall into place.

Once you finish the essays, have your peers edit them before you finalize them. The more eyes that proofread your essays, the better; it is often hard to find mistakes in your own paper when you are staring at it for hours on end.

Aside from just the essays, it is equally as important to build a strong resumé. Involve yourself in several extracurriculars both inside and outside of school in order to add a variety of things to your application to make yourself appear more well-rounded. For me, I made sure to join Key Club to earn extra volunteering hours and I created my own Vegetarian Club my junior year to show that I had a passion and was able to garner support for it. Outside of school, I worked as a waitress at a local restaurant and volunteered at the Oklahoma University Medical Center, all while maintaining a high GPA.

Being involved in school clubs and activities as well as volunteering and working a part-time job tells colleges that you are capable of juggling several different responsibilities while also focusing on school. Simply having good grades is not enough to stand out from the thousands of other students who also have good grades plus several extracurriculars on top of that.

Once you’ve completed your resume and admission essays, you can then move onto filling out online scholarships. There’s nothing worse than being accepted into your dream school only to not be able to afford the astronomical expenses that come along with it. There are thousands of scholarships out there covering almost any topic you could think of, ranging from first-generation-child scholarships to tall people scholarships. Anyone can benefit from the extra money, but you have to fill out the applications in order to get any of the financial perks.

Overall, your college application should capture your genuine personality, explaining who you are beyond a series of grades, test scores, and after-school activities. You choose what to share and how to share it, so portray the best version of yourself and know what separates you from the others.

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