Take Your Best Shot at College Admissions: Three Steps to a Winning Application

When you check your dream school’s website and scream “I got in,” you’ll know that all the hard work was worth it. So don’t settle for “good enough” when working on your college applications. Read on to learn three additional ways to strengthen your application and enhance your chances of being admitted to your first-choice college.

1. Click on emails from top-choice schools. Colleges are tracking which students open their emails and how much time students spend looking at their websites. If you’re serious about applying to a particular school, show interest by visiting their website frequently and exploring areas that interest you. This is especially important if you’ve been given a user name and password.

Colleges prefer to admit students who are most likely to accept their offers of admission. This helps them to improve their yield—the percentage of admitted students who actually enroll.

2. Get objective feedback. Most of the feedback you’ll get comes from parents, friends, teachers, and guidance counselors. Not only have they not worked in admissions, but the fact that they know you well means they can-not objectively review your application. These people may not be able to give you the honest feedback you need, or know what admissions officers are really looking for.

Consider using an online service such as AdmissionsCheckup.com to get objective feedback from former admissions officers. They honestly evaluate your prospects for admission to your top choice school and suggest specific ways to make your application more compelling. Be sure to get objective feedback well in advance of submitting so you’ll have enough time to edit, make adjustments, or completely rework your application, if necessary.

In 2014, 80 percent of the students who used AdmissionsCheckup.com were admitted to their first-choice schools!

3. Reach out to alumni. You never know who will be reading your application. Some colleges use professors, students, and alumni to read applications. Contact alumni of your top choice schools. Talk with them about their experiences in college and beyond. Use these opportunities to learn more about what makes each college special and how you might fit in there. You may even get some ideas for your “Why XYZ College?” essay. Be sure to follow up with a prompt thank-you note, either handwritten or email.

As a college consultant for the last 17 years, I have learned that getting into your first-choice college is not only about grades, scores and extracurricular activities, but also about how you manage the application process. Once you’ve identified top choice colleges, you can increase your chances of making your application stand out, and getting admitted. Given the competitive nature of college admissions, it is important to take the extra steps needed to be sure your college application stands out.

Stephanie Klein Wassink is the founder and principal of AdmissionsCheckup.com http://www.admissionscheckup.com. She is also a Fairfield County-based college consultant with close to 20 years’ experience. For more information, call 203-938-3878 or email info@admissionscheckup.com.


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