As we approach the beginning of the new school year, high school teachers will undoubtedly be approached by seniors for help with college applications. What do you tell them? How can you help? Writing a great essay is a good start, but there are other ways to make any college application stand out, and the best time to begin addressing that is now. In today’s article, Vera Reed explores some other ways we can guide our students toward making their college application stand out.
Going above and beyond the call to duty is simply one of the things that great teachers do. So while you technically don’t have to help your students with their college applications, going the extra mile to do so will improve their chances of getting acceptance letters.
While they may have aced their SAT tests, achieved impressive GPAs, and written killer college application essays, students need to understand that there’s more to it than that. You need to drill into their heads that there are lots of applicants who are just as hungry and motivated as they are, which means that there are some things they need to do to get ahead of the pack.
The essay component is definitely important, and you shouldn’t downplay how critical it is. But you should find a way to show them that there’s more to college applications than essays.
So read on for 5 ways that you can help your students to prepare their college applications to stand out beyond their essays.
1. Don’t Delay
Procrastination may very well be students’ worst enemy. In fact, one study finds that in excess of 70% of students in North America procrastinate. You should encourage your students to submit their completed college applications sooner rather than later. The sooner they submit them, the sooner their applications will be looked at by admissions officers.
2. Be Specific
Admissions officers don’t want to merely read a list of the things students have done. They want details. You can help your students by encouraging them to describe the extracurricular activities they’ve been involved in, to elaborate on any leadership roles they’ve held. Even more, you should inform them that they must, in addition to listing things they’ve done, also explain specific skills they’ve acquired or developed — just as if they were preparing effective resumes.
3. Conduct Research
Admissions officers want to see that students actually know a thing or two about the schools’ mission statements. So you should encourage students to conduct some research on the schools they plan to apply to. Armed with some details about the schools they’re interested in, the students can send out college applications that demonstrate to admissions officers that they actually took the time and initiative to do a bit of research.
4. Recommendation Letter
Many colleges require one or more letters of recommendation as part of the application process. Such letters, when they come from teachers, carry some weight since instructors are in a position to give a credible assessment about the suitability of applicants for different academic programs. Even if you’re not in a position to write letters of recommendation for all your pupils, you can still let them know how important these letters are and suggest whom they might ask.
5. Write it Right
One way you can definitely help your students to make their college applications to stand out beyond their essays is to provide some guidance as to how to write prepare their applications properly. Even if they have great content, they also need to revise and to edit as needed. Perhaps you might have the time to give their written submissions a look to make suggestions.
While students need to take some initiative, you can provide the necessary guidance they need to be successful. There’s a lot at stake as they prepare to embark upon their post-secondary studies, and keeping in the 5 tips above will help you to assist them.