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5 Pieces of College Prep Advice from an IvyWise Student

Fri, Oct 05, 2018 @ 12:01 PM

college_campus_fallIvyWise Pro Bono Student Eunice Gives Insight and Advice Into Her College Admissions Journey

Often the college prep advice that students can best relate to is that given by peers going through the same journey. So what insight do students currently navigating the college admissions landscape have for others? We caught up with IvyWise pro bono student Eunice to get her take on what students need to keep in mind when applying to college this fall, and some advice for students who may be just starting the college prep process!

At IvyWise, we work with a wide variety of students in various stages of the admissions process, including a number of pro bono students. Our students have a wealth of insight, and every so often we like to check in with some of our pro bono students to see how their admissions process is going and what advice we have for others. Check out Eunice’s college prep advice and watch her video diary below!

Your College Application Essay Isn’t a “Formula”
“Throughout high school I’ve always been taught the very professional, formula five-paragraph essay, but the college essay is very creative in that it has more space than a simple formula.”

It’s important for students to remember that their college application essay or personal statement is an opportunity to get creative and let the admissions office learn something about you that can’t be found anywhere else. Don’t focus on creating an academic-type essay that just lists what’s already on your activity list. Instead, get creative and dig deep to find a topic that gives more context to your interests and who you are as a student and person. There’s no formula or “right way” to write your college application essay, so take time to brainstorm, write, edit, and revise your college application essay until it’s something you’d be really proud to submit.

Welcome Feedback
“The college admissions process is a process in which you should truly welcome feedback…what you may be thinking is very clear on your essay may not be clear when someone else reads it.”

Writing a creative and compelling essay is hard, and often an exercise that some students are not used to. This is why it’s important for students to welcome feedback on their essays, as well as other components of their college applications. Your college counselor, independent counselor, and even teachers and parents can offer valuable insight into how an essay reads. Your college counselor can also give feedback on your activity list, supplements, and more. Use the resources available to you to get the most comprehensive feedback possible and use it to submit applications that represent the best version of you!

Check In On Yourself
“It’s really important for you to check in on yourself during this college application process because it’s inevitable that for many people it’s going to be very stressful and very intense no matter how much you prepare for it...it’s important to check up on yourself and for ideas to ruminate and have some time for these ideas to develop.”

Don’t let the college admissions process consume you! Yes, it’s a lot of work and can be stressful, but it’s important to take a step back and reevaluate if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed. Take some time to do the things that you enjoy and spend time with your family and friends. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. This process is about you, so check in on yourself and make sure that you’re taking advantage of all the support available to you.

Follow Your Passions
“If you truly fill up your high school experience with things that you love doing it’s going to go past in like a minute.”

The college admissions process is about self-discovery. Students should use their time in high school to learn about the things they’re most passionate about and pursue them! Work to identify your passions and interests early on, and fill your time with activities, outside reading, and other initiatives that can help you delve more deeply into those interests. Don't do things that you think will “look good” to admissions officers. They’re looking for authenticity, not a packaged student who fits a mold you think they’re looking for. Fill your time with the things you truly love, and you’ll have a rewarding admissions season come senior year.

Focus on Collaboration Not Competition
“Have a really great support network of people supporting you throughout this process rather than feeling so intensely in competition with other people.”

The college admissions process can be extremely competitive, especially if you’re applying to some of the most selective colleges and universities in the US. However, your peers are a source of support, so don’t feel like you need to be in constant competition with them. Not only can that ruin friendships, it can also make for a very unfulfilling high school experience if you’re constantly worried about how you’re doing in comparison to others. Instead, work to collaborate with your peers. Find ways to better explore your interests together and learn from one another!

What advice do you have for students applying to college this fall? Tell us in the comments below! 

If you plan to apply to college this fall or in the future, get on the right track by downloading our free College Planning Checklist!

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