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College Applications: Never Too Early To Start

Jan 19, 2008
Applying to college can be an overwhelming process. To manage your anxiety, and ensure that the application process runs smoothly, consider applying Early Decision or Early Action. Doing so allows you to get an early start on your college applications and improve your chances of getting in.

Planning ahead and taking your time with college applications is a good idea. The benefit of additional time will ensure that you are presented in the best light to your future college. In other words, last-minute applications have more last-minute errors.

When it comes to things like your application essay and recommendation letters, you want to avoid those types of mistakes at all costs! Submitting your application early may also help out in terms of how it's processed by prospective colleges.

As mentioned above, one of the most important features of your application is the application essay. Although many colleges have application deadlines as late as January, its wise to start your essay as early as the summer before you apply.

A good essay takes time and requires multiple drafts and careful editing. When you're in a rush, it is very easy to miss the small mistakes, or large omissions, that an admission officer will catch immediately. It is also more likely that you will be overwhelmed and draw a blank when you read the essay question. If you're working on it, say, two days before the application's due, that's going to put you in a very stressful situation.

To make the most of your essay, choose a topic about which you are expert. As the expert, give the reader the advantage of understanding why the topic you have chosen is important to you. Additionally, you want to write from your perspective. Don't try to impress the reader with words or ideas that you can't express comfortably. Lastly, take the time to read your essay out loud or have it reviewed by an essay expert. It's easy to overlook grammar errors or word omissions when you are editing quietly.

Believe it or not, it's also wise to seek recommendation letters well in advance of deadlines and even as early as the spring of junior year. Many teachers and guidance counselors, especially popular ones, are bombarded with requests as application deadlines draw near. If you wait until November, your writer may not have as much time to dedicate to your letter.

Ideally, you should meet to discuss your goals and accomplishments with your writer early. That way you can provide them with the kind of information that spells a helps craft a fantastic recommendation.

Consider applying to your top choice colleges early decision or early action. When doing so, you can avoid the last minute rush associated with so many college applicants. Take time to focus on your application essay, recommendation letters, and the completeness of your application. By doing so, you are virtually ensuring a flawless application and a greater chance of being noticed.
About the Author
Michael Fleischner is the Managing Director of Peterson's. For the most comprehensive college planning resources, visit http://www.studentedge.com. Learn how to improve your college application essay and personal statement at EssayEdge.
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