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College Applications: Getting Over the Hump

Jul 22, 2008
No doubt about it, applying to college can be quite tedious and boring. You have to get an application, fill it out, send letters of recommendation, write an essay, pay a fee, and finish all this on a deadline. A daunting proposition, when taken all at once.

However, you shouldn't let these little barriers stop you from filling out that application to the school of your dreams. Let me tell you a story.

The college I wound up attending had a very straightforward and quick application process. When I started at school, I found many students who were attending simply because the application was easy. Their good grades has gotten them excepted quickly, but they had no particular interest in the courses at my school (an engineering school). Some, when asked what they wanted to do, would give such decidedly non-engineering careers such as fashion design!

Most of these people dropped out soon. I can't help but think that if they had spent a little more time finding the right school for them instead of applying because the application was easy, they might have done a lot better. Rather than allowing the challenges of applying to a school to cause you to look for an easier path, plow ahead through the process.

To help with this plowing process, I've created this quick list of tips on eliminating the barriers that stop most people from making the leap and applying for the schools they really want to attend. Read them and learn.

1. Application Fees

To many it may seem odd that a $60 fee would be a hurdle for someone applying to a school that costs thousands, but if you are applying to many colleges, the fees will stack up quickly. The solution to this one is simple, though. Just call up the the admissions office and tell them about your financial situation, and many times they will waive the fee for you. Even if they don't, it never hurts to try.

3. Letters of Recommendation

There are a few quick fixes here. When you're out begging for letters, ask if they could make the letter generic enough to change a few words (preferably just the school name) out for different schools, and give them a list of schools you're applying to so they can make multiple copies. Then, give them pre-addressed and stamped envelopes to send the letters out in. This "batching" technique is much more time efficient that individual letters.

3. The Essay's

For many, this is the most daunting aspect of the entire application. Let me tell you how to make it easier. Go through each of your applications, and find out what they're looking for with the essay. You will notice that many of these essays are on similar topics. Once you've identified these similarities, you can "modularize" your essays in order to save time. Once you have these topic modules written, you can just copy, paste, and change the sections into the appropriate essay. Just be sure to alter any references to the school name, or else Harvard admissions might be puzzled as to why your only goal in like is to attend Duke!

Hopefully, these tips have help you out a bit with the applications process. Be sure to never give up on your dreams, particularly due to what are actually very small (though largely annoying) obstacles such as college applications. Good luck with the process, and I hope you get into the school of your dreams!
About the Author
David Wilson is the man behind College Hunter Blog . Visit to learn about finding, applying, and getting into your perfect school. Whether you want to be a doctor, a lawyer , or something else entirely, we'll help you get there.
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