Applying to college can be a long and confusing process. Use the advice of these five experts on college admissions to guide you and help you stay organized and focused.
5 experts give you their top advice for applying to college
What do you want out of college?
“Screen out the pressures and expectations coming from everyone around you. Ask yourself what you really care about. What do you want to get out of college?” – William (Bill) Deresiewicz, author of Excellent Sheep
Bill Deresiewicz, a former Yale professor who served on an admissions committee, wrote Excellent Sheep to reveal how educations at elite schools and colleges are limiting students’ abilities to think creatively and critically. You can read about my thoughts on Excellent Sheep on this website. You can read more about Bill at his website, BillDeresiewicz.com.
Broaden your college search
“Give every college you hear about a chance. If you hear about a college, good or bad, take the time to visit its website and find out for yourself what it has to offer.” – Michelle Kretzschmar of DIY College Rankings.
Michelle has a lot of information on DIY College Rankings about applying to college. She has information on how to get beyond the meaningless national rankings (and why they’re meaningless) and really find the value of a college. She also has a handy book that will help you navigate and find information on college websites while you’re applying to colleges.
Calculate the price of colleges
“If money is an issue, the most important thing that you can do is to make sure that you have a very good idea of what the real price will be of each college on your list before applying. Submitting applications and then simply hoping that you’ll be showered with scholarships or financial aid is not a smart plan.” – Lynn O’Shaughnessy, college admissions expert, higher-ed journalist, speaker and educator.
On her website, The College Solution, Lynn explains net price calculators and how to use them to figure out how much financial aid and/or scholarships you might be offered by each college, to estimate the true price of attending a college. Do this before applying to each college. She blogs about the true cost and true worth of colleges and more.
Organize your college admissions
“Stay organized. Use a spreadsheet or a calendar to keep track of all the deadlines for college applications and scholarship applications. Keep track of the different components needed for each application – recommendation letters, transcripts, ACT/SAT scores, essays, etc. Set reminders on your phone or through your email.” – Wendy Nelson of My Kid’s College Choice
Wendy has a lot of tips about how to stay organized and more during your college application process on her website, My Kid’s College Choice. Her College Search Spreadsheet, which you can start using at the beginning of your college search, will keep you organized when you’re applying to college. It has a second spreadsheet to keep track of admission details. And a third to keep track of offers.
Learn from the college admissions process
“The college search is only partly about deciding where to go to college. It is more a journey of self-discovery…. The journey is ultimately more important than the destination… Don’t be so focused on the destination that you miss the scenery.” – Jim Jump, college counselor and past president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling
Jim is a college admission counselor. He was previously a college admissions officer, philosophy professor, and college women’s basketball coach. He is often quoted, such as in this article about college admissions in the New York Times. You can find out more about Jim at his website, The Thoughtful College Search. And his blog appears on Inside Higher Ed.
This is only an excerpt of the thoughtful piece Jim provided when I asked him for his top advice for seniors applying to college. Read more of his advice for your college search and applying to college in his full post on this website.
More about applying to college
Here are some more article that might help you with your college search and applying to college.