Three Things College Application Tips Never Tell You, But Should

Cost for college education

So you took the SAT and got an okay score. You have a rough list of colleges you want to apply to, and you’re visiting the rest within the next few weeks. Think you’re prepared? The simple truth is, you’re not. Far from it, in fact. Take it from one college graduate to another: there are a lot of things we all wish people would have told us before we licked the stamps for those applications. Or in more modern terms, clicked “send.” Here are three facts you should keep in mind for this admission season.

1. College Education Costs: Why International Ranking of Universities Might Not Matter

You have no idea how much college will cost. You might think you know… but you don’t. The truth is, your undergraduate degree is important, but there is no one school it hinges on. I know as many public university graduates as private school graduates who have gone on to Ivy Leagues. In many cases, the only difference between the two was $100,000 in loans. Work as hard as you can, but remember that quality doesn’t always suffer with price when it comes to education. Keep in mind as well that a school might not make the top international ranking of universities per se, but might have a really strong program for your degree area. In other words: some of the best chemistry colleges are the worst for MBAs. It’s all relative.

2. College Application Help

You can never be too humble when it comes to asking for help on applications. It’s not always important to stand out as everyone suggests; plenty of schools are looking for those students who did predictably well at things in HS, and will continue to do so. One often underrated boost is looking busy. Colleges want students who will get involved with extracurriculars; they want students who can multitask and won’t burn out after a semester under their new workload. Get involved in afterschool activities or programs that relate to what you might want to study. This can also make college application essays a little easier to write; there’s your topic!

3. Examples of College Application Essays You Should Never Write

Anyone who ends up with a friend in the record office will hear about the essay topic predictability. It might not kill your application, but it won’t make it shine, either. Writing about a vacation you learned from is one of the top contenders for “been there, read that”; heroism is another. Not only is it overdone, it can come off as arrogant and self involved. Ways to turn it around? Concentrate on people and specific events. If you really want to write about a vacation, write about how you felt and what you did when you got lost in the backstreets of Morocco, or the man you met on a bus.

How seriously do you take the international ranking of universities?

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