Advice for Students: How to Handle Applying for College
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
What do colleges and universities look for on an application for admission? Everything from correct grammar, spelling and punctuation to the truth about you, Butler University Vice President of Enrollment Management Tom Weede says.
“Be sure to present yourself well,” he recommends. “Fill out the application in a way that demonstrates that you are genuinely interested.”
Weede offered these additional tips for students who are now or soon will be applying to college:
- Proofread your application. Make it look like you really care. Reread what you’ve written. Look for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. Double-space your essay and keep it to two pages. “And if you’re filing multiple versions of the same application, make sure you use ‘search and replace’ so you’re not telling us how much you love the college you applied to just before us,” Weede said.
- Don’t worry about which kind of application you use. Whether it’s the specific university’s application, the Common Application, paper or online, it doesn’t matter. “We’re simply looking for information,” he said.
- When you get a recommendation, make sure it’s from someone who knows you well. “They’re going to be able to tell us about the way you learn, and that’s useful to us,” Weede said.
- Be truthful. For example, one common question is whether you’ve ever been suspended from school. “We’re far more concerned about your honesty than we are about a youthful indiscretion,” he said.
- If you’re considering early decision, do so carefully. Early decision is good for you if you have one school where you really want to be, he said. But remember: If you’re accepted, you have to go to that school. So you need to make that decision carefully. Most seniors aren’t ready to commit by December. If you’re still shopping for a school, early action – which gives you a quick acceptance (or rejection), usually by December – or regular decision are better ways to go.
Weede said students should only apply to schools they’re genuinely interested in and have a reasonable chance of getting into.
But don’t let the cost of a college education influence your decision.
“If you think a school looks like a good fit for you, but you’re not sure you can afford it, apply anyway because you’ll have a chance to find out about financial aid,” he said. “If you don’t apply for admission, you’ll never find out whether you could have gone there.”
Tom Weede joined Butler University in May 2007 as vice president for enrollment management. Previously, he served as the chief admission officer at Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y., and Warren Wilson College in Asheville, N.C. He also worked at Carroll College in Waukesha, Wis. To schedule an interview with Tom Weede, contact Marc Allan, (317) 940-9822 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To find other Butler University experts, visit http://www.butler.edu/experts/.
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