Most colleges offer—and prefer—online college applications. It saves the hassle of having to key in your info from a paper app.
“Simmons waives the application fee if students apply online, and so do many other schools,” says Ashley Simmons, an admissions counselor at Simmons College (simmons.edu). “Online applications are also easier to read and send a positive message as opposed to a hand-written application/essay.”
But before you hit “send,” make sure you do the following.
1. Show your interest in the school
Make an effort to meet someone in person before applying.
“Make it clear that you’ve pictured yourself (at the college), and help them
picture yourself there, too,” says Jordan Goldman, founder and CEO of Unigo.com.
For example, instead of “I can’t wait to work on the school newspaper,” personalize it: “I can’t wait to be a reporter for the Campus Stylus, which I read online weekly.”
2. Proofread your college application, even online
Write your essay in Word, not in your Internet browser. That gives you the ability to reread and edit without the temptation to hit “send” too early.
“There, their, they’re are all actual words so they will not be flagged by your spell checker necessarily,” Simmons says. “It helps to take the extra time to read your essay aloud to yourself and have at least one other person read it.”
3. Be sure you talk about the right school in your online college application
“We know that most students are applying to more than one school, but it sends a different kind of message when a student refers to wanting to attend another school,” Simmons says.
4. Treat the process formally
This is your college application, people! Treat it like the big deal it is. It’s clear when students slack.
“This shows up by writing in all lowercase, writing with poor grammar, or writing in ‘IM language,’” says Erin Moran, an admissions counselor at High Point University (highpoint.edu).
“Remember, the essay is one of the only chances we, as admissions counselors, have to get to know you. Make sure it is a good representation of you. Take it seriously!”