By Allen Grove, About.com Guide
- Application Basics
- Social Media
- The Essay
- Sample Admissions Essays
- Supplemental Essays
- Short Answer
- SAT Scores
- ACT Scores
- The Interview
- Demonstrated Interest
- Financial Aid
- Transfer Applications
- What To Do If Deferred, Waitlisted or Rejected
Learn about important deadlines and the types of information you'll need to present on your college application.
- Application Overview
- The Common Application
- Recommended Book: Admission Matters
- How to Get Good Letters of Recommendation
- 6 Common Applicant Blunders
- What is Legacy Status?
- What is Early Action?
- What is Early Decision?
- What is Rolling Admission?
- What is Open Admission?
ALL colleges use social media in one way or another. Make sure your social media presence strengthens rather than hurts your application.
For many selective colleges, the essay is at the heart of the application. This is the place where you can really present your passions and personality. Make sure your essay makes your application rise to the top of the pile, not get tossed in the garbage can.
- 5 Tips for a Winning Essay
- Hints for the Personal Essay Options
- 10 Bad Essay Topics
- 9 Ways to Improve Your Essay's Style
- Essay Length - 500 Words?
- Single or Double Spaced?
- Due Moor Then Spell Czech
- UC Personal Statement Prompt #1
- UC Personal Statement Prompt #2
- 5 Tips for an Essay on a Significant Experience
- 5 Tips for an Essay on an Important Issue
- 6 Tips for an Essay on an Influential Person
- 7 Tips for an Essay on a Fictional Character or Creative Work
- 5 Tips for an Essay on Diversity
- 4 Tips for an Essay on a Topic of Your Choice
Sample Admissions Essays
Each of the sample admissions essays below is accompanied by a critique of the essay's strengths and weaknesses.
- Essay on an Ethical Dilemma: "The Job I Should Have Quit"
- Essay on Diversity: "Give Goth a Chance"
- Essay on a Fictional Character: "Porkopolis"
- Essay on a Fictional Character: "Wallflower"
- Essay on an Influential Person: "Student Teacher"
- Essay on an Influential Person: "Buck Up"
- Essay for the Open Topic: "Eating Eyeballs"
- Essay on a Local Issue: "The Allegany County Youth Board"
Many students put a lot of effort into the personal essay and short-change the supplemental essay. These articles and samples help you avoid this mistake.
- 5 Common Supplemental Essay Mistakes
- Sample Supplemental Essay (Duke)
- Sample Supplemental Essay (Oberlin)
- Discussion of a Weak Supplemental Essay
The Common Application as well as many individual college applications ask students to elaborate on one of their activities. Although brief, this part of the application needs to shine.
- 6 Tips for a Winning Short Answer
- 5 Common Short Answer Mistakes
- Sample Short Answer on Running
- Short Answer on Working at Burger King
- Sample (Weak) Short Answer on Soccer
- Sample (Weak) Short Answer on Entrepreneurship
- What's the Ideal Short Answer Length?
Like it or not, those standardized test scores usually carry a lot of weight. Here you'll learn the ins and outs of the College Board's SAT.
- What's a Good SAT Score?
- SAT Score Comparison Charts
- Bad SAT Scores? What Now?
- SAT Scores for the Ivy League
- SAT Scores for Top Private Universities (non-Ivy)
- SAT Scores for Top Public Universities
- SAT Scores for Top Liberal Arts Colleges
- Strategies if You Have Low SAT Scores
- SAT Score Choice - Pros and Cons
- Converting SAT Scores to ACT Scores
- These Schools Don't Require SAT Scores
The ACT has been gaining popularity, even on the coasts where the SAT tends to dominate. Here you'll learn about the ACT and the scores colleges want to see from their applicants.
- What's a Good ACT Score?
- What's a Good ACT Writing Score?
- ACT Score Comparison Charts
- Low ACT Scores? What Now?
- ACT Scores for the Ivy League
- ACT Scores for Top Universities (non-Ivy)
- ACT Scores for Top Public Universities
- ACT Scores for Top Liberal Arts Colleges
- Colleges that Don't Require ACT Scores
- Converting ACT Scores to SAT Scores
A college interview is not the most important part of your application, but it can make a difference. These articles will help you prepare for the interview and avoid common interviewing mistakes.
About half of all colleges and universities say that a student's "demonstrated interest" has either moderate or high importance in the admissions process. These articles explore this nebulous facet of applying to college.
Choosing a college and getting accepted are the first big challenges in the admissions process. Now you need to figure out how to pay for school.
- Can You Afford College?
- Scholarship Tips
- What is the FAFSA?
- When Should You Submit the FAFSA?
- Documents You'll Need for the FAFSA
- Can You Claim Independent Status?
- Marital Status and Financial Aid
- Loss of Income - What Now?
- What is a Pell Grant?
- Save $1,000s - Graduate Early
Don't rely solely on a college's financial aid package. There are billions of dollars out there that you can seek on your own.
- Find Scholarships (Cappex.com)
- 25 Scholarships Worth $5,000 or More
- 23 Unusual Scholarships
- International Students - 18 Scholarships
- Underrepresented Students - 26 Scholarships
- Athletic Scholarships (video)
- Engineering Scholarships
- Science Scholarships
- Nursing Scholarships
- Business Scholarships
- California Scholarships
- May Deadlines - 37 Scholarships
- June Deadlines - 22 Scholarships
- July Deadlines - 15 Scholarships
- August Deadlines - 9 Scholarships
- September Deadlines - 9 Scholarships
- $10K to $50K Davidson Fellows Scholarships
- Scholarship Scams - 10 Red Flags
Transferring is becoming a more and more popular option among college students for academic, social and financial reasons.
- Sample Transfer Essay
- Transfer Essay Tips
- The Hidden Costs of Transferring
- 5 Good Reasons to Transfer
- 5 Bad Reasons to Transfer
What To Do If Deferred, Waitlisted or Rejected
Being deferred or waitlisted isn't the end of the admissions process, and in some cases you can even appeal a letter of rejection. These articles will help guide you when you don't get the acceptance letter that you were hoping for.
- Deferred? What Now?
- Sample Response to a Deferral
- Deferred? Don't Send This Letter
- Waitlisted? What Now?