Oh, do I! I can’t believe it was exactly four years ago that I was slogging through the bog of college applications, sending SAT and ACT scores to the four winds, clicking the "send" button on the Common App and awakening in the middle of the night, terrified that my dial-up internet connection had somehow malfunctioned. Yes, I was really that stressed. And yes, I really had dial-up internet in 2007.
But you don’t have to stress out over college apps. Here are three tips, both general and Skid-specific, for applying to college.
1) PLAN AHEAD. That’s right. Time management is your best friend. Look at the next couple of months (or sooner, given Skidmore’s first Early Decision deadline is November 15th) and schedule what essays you need to write, what forms you need to fill out, what recommendations you have to snag from teachers, and what other bureaucratic tasks you have to complete. Give yourself plenty of time to get everything done. You don’t want to pull an all-nighter the night before the app is due — you have all of actual college to do that!
2) WRITE REAL GOOD. No, but seriously, make sure your various essays are top-notch. Skidmore has started an initiative that involves having all departments, from dance to theatre to exercise science, involve some sort of writing requirement in their courses and majors. In other words, writing is pretty important to Skidmore. Get someone to proofread your essays so the grammar/usage/mechanics are all nice and shiny and awesome. Use your essays to show what a bright, talented and interesting person you are. Which brings me to my next tip…
3) FOCUS ON YOUR STRENGTHS. So you bombed all of your Honors Physics exams junior year. Or maybe you tried to paint your self-portrait in art class and ended up doing a pretty accurate rendering of Voldemort instead. That’s fine. Skidmore doesn’t care. What’s important is not pretending to be a great painter, or lying and say you want to major in Physics when you actually want to burn that textbook to a crisp. Use your college application to be yourself. You don’t need to have participated in a thousand extracurricular activities and you don’t need to take all 328 AP classes. Focus on what you’re good at, whether it’s European history or psychology or baseball or musical theater; let that shine through in your app and the admissions people will see that you’ve got a passion for something.
And the lightning round: make sure you fill out every section, spellcheck everything, use the same name on all of your stuff (maybe this sounds stupid but I know from having worked in Admissions that this can be a problem), be creative AND honest, do an interview or alumni interview if you can, and don’t despair because next semester will be far, far easier than this one.
Good luck with your applications!