Times offers tips to get through the college app dilemma

For some seniors, one of the most stressful times of their lives so far is upon them. With application week in the Counseling Center at a close, The Cardinal Times spoke with people who offer tips to those students struggling to work through the college process.

Keep it simple. At back to school night, that was speaker Greg Delehoy’s top tip for applying. Other suggestions Smith offered included: Don’t pile on too many extracurriculars to seem well rounded. “It might appear as if you do a lot and excel at nothing,” he said.  When relying on a scholarship, apply to schools that have similar average GPAs , SAT and ACT scores, Delehoy advised. If applying to “reach” schools, make sure to have a safety, he said. Additionally, Delehoy said applying to 10-15 schools is overkill, as studies show that after the 10th essay, the quality of work significantly decreases.

The first rule of the common application essay, he added, is to “forget everything you’ve ever learned about writing an essay. The common application shouldn’t sound like an English paper,” said Delehoy. “It shouldn’t be academic. It should be a reflection of you.” The purpose of the common app essay is not to judge how well an applicant can spell or use commas, but to learn something unique or uncommon about them. In Delehoy’s words, “it should be a story.”

The story doesn’t have to be riveting or hilarious, said Delahoy, who described one applicant’s story about accidentally getting engaged while on exchange in Spain. It should inform the board of admissions about the applicant, noting strengths and interests and personal voice.

“Like any good paper, you should have a theme and motif,” Fred Fox, librarian, said. “The questions are generic, and they need to be personalized.” Senior Morgan Nuss agreed. “Make it yourself,” she said, “show personality.”

Counselor Danielle Holloway’s top tip for the college application process is to go on college visits. “If you can’t, go on a virtual tour,” she said. “Get of the feel of the college you are applying to. You have to know what you specifically want in a college.” While resources such as Naviance and college visits can inform students about many aspects of a school, Holloway said, the only true way to get to know the culture of a college is to go on tours.

Senior Nawal Oumar said that the Counseling Center “has been really helpful. They have editing sessions where you can go and get your paper edited which is helpful,” she said. “And they’ve been really good with restocking the candy, which has given me energy.”