College Admissions Strategy

Those applying to selective colleges need as much guidance as possible. It’s important to remember that admission officers read thousands of applications and are impressed with those students that can differentiate themselves from the crowd.

Here’s how to stand out on your apps: Although a challenging curriculum, strong GPA and stellar test scores (for schools that require test scores) are essential, other sections of the college admissions consulting application are increasingly important.

– Select essay topics that are unique. Present yourself as a diversified individual. Do not repeat what is elsewhere on your application. The essay is an opportunity to let admission officers know another side of you. Make sure your writing is character driven. Find a “slice of life” story that belongs just to you. Topics can be as simple as a family meal, your part time job or about a distinctive hobby. Steer clear of typical topics such as family trips, a sick relative or a community service project.

– Many colleges ask the “Why?” question – Why are you a good match for that college. Make sure that short essay is about you and not the university. After all, they know about their college. Admission officers want to learn as much about you as possible. Research specifics about the college that cannot be found anywhere else and connect these details to your interests.

– Show that you have initiated groups, organizations and programs in your hometown. Take action in your community. It’s not necessary to participate in expensive abroad programs and rebuild neighborhoods in third world countries

– Learn the different ways to apply to the colleges on your list whether it is an Early Decision Plan or Rolling Admissions. You may be at an advantage if you apply early. If you do apply to a binding Early Decision Program, do visit the college first to make sure it is the one for you.

– Be careful what you post online. With social media so prevalent, it is easy for admission officers to learn things about you on the Internet. If you don’t want information you post on the front of a national newspaper, then don’t put it online. Do post interesting things about yourself. Artists can post portfolio items and musicians use You Tube. URL’s are not difficult to create. Even science projects are fun to put online.

– Keep a detailed timeline calendar during your college process and pace yourself. Summer is a great time to write your college essays and get a jump-start on your process. The Common Application, which now hosts over 400 colleges, will be launched online on August 1st. You could finalize your resume and several required essays prior to the start of school in the fall. Getting an early start assures you of completing careful and well thought out applications

Jeannie received her Masters Degree in Education and Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and is Founder and President of the Los Angeles based independent college counseling firm College Connections. She has an extensive educational background having served as counselor, school administrator, admissions director, teacher and curriculum supervisor in both the public and private sectors. Jeannie also mentored teachers through the UCLA teacher-training program for seven years, is state certified, and holds a teaching credential issued for life. She regularly attends professional conferences, networks with colleagues and visits colleges throughout the United States building contacts within the admissions staff. Jeannie has been awarded professional membership with the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA). Her affiliation with the National and Western Association of College Admissions Counselors as well as the Higher Educational Consultants Association keeps her on the forefront of innovative and current trends in college admissions and education.