Thursday, April 8, 2010

College Applications: Straight from the Mouth of a UT Student

P1100845The idea of college lingers in the minds of most young people, especially high school students. Your parents want you to attend a good college and your school counselors and teachers are constantly giving speech and speech on what forms to fill out and what scholarships to apply for (see Girl Scout scholarship opportunities). Many young people are desperate to break away from the clutter of information and still end up at the university of their choice. Here’s how to do just that.

Applying to college is a process and its one that should start from the time you walk through the doors of your high school freshman year. Helpful Hint #1: Start keeping a notebook or excel sheet documenting everything you have done starting the day you enter high school. I am talking about every extracurricular, volunteer activity, title you held while serving those groups and awards you won. Anything that makes you stand out from the rest is something you will want to write down. You need to maintain this list as you go because when it comes time to fill out the application your senior year, you do not want to be stuck trying to remember everything you did the past four years. Remember to include your Girl Scout Gold Award, CIT experiences, Program Aid experiences, etc!

Most of us dread the essay portion of the application. Having a college base your writing capabilities off two essays is nerve-racking. This is definitely something you should not wait to do at the last minute. Helpful Hint #2: As soon as the essays on the application are released, start drafting an outline. You might go through several outlines. It might even help to take these to a teacher so they can guide you through the process or at least help get you started. In my experiences, teachers have always been happy to help especially if you have made a previous effort to build a friendly relationship with them. You could even go to a former teacher if the one you have now is too busy.

Some students set their sights high when it comes to applying to the major of their choice. Being an admirable quality, it helps to evaluate your options before deciding on your desired major. Helpful Hint #3: If you want to apply to a competitive college like the UT McCombs Business School, make sure your application and grades are top-notch or take a different route. Apply to a less competitive college or choose undeclared for your first year. This will give you a chance to improve your grades and resume freshman year and give you a better chance at getting in the following year.

Lastly, the most important of them all is DEADLINES. Helpful Hint #4: Every college has a different set of deadlines and most of this information is listed on the college’s Web site. Write down all the deadlines for the universities you are applying to on a special calendar so you know when every form, transcript, etc. is due for that particular college. You also want to check when housing applications need to be in. You don’t want to spend your first year at college without a place to live! Review it at the start of each week so you ensure things get turned in on time!

And those are my tips straight from my experiences applying to UT. If you have any other questions, comments or concerns feel free to leave a comment!

-Kristine Rheinboldt, Communications Intern

Photo: Gold Award recipient and GSCTX Board Chair, Linda Pelton, at 2009 Statewide Gold Award Ceremony.

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