Applying for college or graduate school is a big job and can be daunting task. Not to mention the competition a candidate will be up against. With over 20 million students expected to attend American colleges and universities, how can a candidate create an application that will stand out of the crowd?
The following are 5 simple ways to have an advantage during the college and graduate school application process:
- A Well-Structured Profile. All portions of the application should provide the reader with a specific piece of information about the candidate. None of the content should be repetitive, yet the information should tell a story and support all sections, thus creating a strong, well-rounded profile.
- Strong Recommendation Letters. Recommendation letters are an essential part of evaluating an applicant. They’re the voice of someone else endorsing the candidate. The schools will want specifics about the candidate’s performance at work and how the candidate compares against his/her peers. Providing strong recommendation letters is an opportunity to give admissions insight into the candidate’s academic and professional background. Recommendation letters build a bridge from the candidate to the school, and could even give admission officers an idea of what role the candidate would assume on their campus.
- Test Scores. A candidate’s GPA tells admissions whether they can excel in an academic setting. A candidate’s GPA is also a measure of the effort and time that the candidate devoted to their previous education. Although, admissions don’t just look at a candidate’s GPA, but also they observe a candidate’s school transcript, choice of classes helps, and standardized test scores, which measure a person’s verbal and quantitative aptitude relative to others. Together, the testing score and the GPA form a better picture of the person’s commitment to excellence. The rigor of the institution and choice of major also play a factor in the evaluation of the candidate.
- Applying Early. Colleges offer different application rounds. Applying early means you will have to prepare all application materials in advance. Colleges largely benefit from this pool of early applicants because typically early applicants tend to be the best-prepared candidates, and if accepted they are more likely to attend the school. In the end, the extra preparation is worth it because early application not only benefits the colleges, but it can benefit the candidate since there is no overrepresentation of any group yet.
- A Well-Crafted Essay. Essays are certainly an important component of the application. Essays fill in the gaps between who the candidate is as a person, their paper credentials, such as test scores, GPA, and resume. Crafting a beautiful essay is not enough — you must articulate yourself effectively by not just telling why you should be admitted, but also showing through concrete, clear examples how you are a strong candidate.
Need additional advice on your college or graduate school application? Our admissions counsel is here to help. From pre-application strategy to post-interview reflection, we help our clients in every step of the application process. Book a FREE 30-minute consultation with us, or consider signing up for our services here.