Application season is winding down to a close, and soon all of the stress of senior fall semester will be over and done with! But, as long as you haven’t hit “submit” yet, you might as well look through your application one last time to make a few last-minute tweaks that will increase your chances of admission.
1. Get a Second Opinion
This is probably the easiest thing to do, because half the work is given to someone else! If you haven’t already had a teacher or counselor look over your essay, make sure they do. Don’t ask a friend or parent, because their advice will be a bit too biased. Rather, take it to someone you know and trust, but don’t have too much of a personal relationship with. Once you get their opinion on your essay, you can make a few changes that will set your application above the rest.
2. Clean up Social Media
While your Facebook profile isn’t actually a part of your application, these days you can never be too safe. Colleges can look at your social media accounts and make judgements on your character just like that! So before you submit your application, make sure your social media profiles are all free of anything that might jeopardize your chances of admission.
3. Check for Slang
If your essay, or any other written components of your application, contain slang or profanity, take them out and replace them with more professional phrasing. If it’s used for dramatic effect or essential to your story, you can consider keeping it; use your best judgement. But be on the look out if anything just slipped in.
4. Cut out Words You Don’t Know
On the flip side of that coin, remove SAT words you just threw in to sound smart. Unless you really understand them and talk that way in real life, you can come off as pretentious or just silly. Some words might have other meanings you don’t understand, and show the reader that you simply copied down words from a thesaurus.
5. Reread the Question
In all the revisions you did throughout the essay-writing process, you might have deviated from the path a little bit. Go back and read the question, then read your essay. Does your essay answer the prompt exactly? If not, what can you change to make sure it does?
6. Avoid the Sob Story
At any point, does your essay begin to sound like a sob story? If you notice a whiney tone, it’s a smart move to tweak that a bit. Even if you have had a really hard life, no stranger wants to read your complaints about it—it’s just awkward. Instead, focus mainly on how you triumphed and grew as a person, after enduring a difficult time.
When applying to school, you may be tempted to embellish. It's such a competitive process that you think the only way to get in is by lying. But that isn't the case. Colleges will see right through that. Plus, they have methods of verifying a lot of your little fibs that will make them doubt your character. No one is perfect, so you don't need to pretend to be. Before you submit your application, look over it and make sure you've been honest the entire time.
If you're applying to colleges, this semester has probably been a stressful one. But just know that in a few months, none of this will matter! And, if you make these last-minute tweaks, hopefully this spring will bring you good news! What other tips and tricks do you have for perfecting your college application at the last minute?