Step 5: Applications

STEP 5: APPLICATIONS AND ESSAYS

APPLICATIONS

Applications & Essays 1
Category : Blue Print
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Applications

Create a Checklist

  • First thing that you want to do is get organized
  • Template for the checklist is provided on this website
  • Fill out all the different fields for each of the colleges that you are applying to (deadlines, letters of recommendations, test scores, etc.)

Types of Applications

  • CSU Application, UC Application, Common Application, and Institutional Applications

CSU Application

  • Used for San Diego State, CSU San Marcos, San Francisco State, etc.
  • You only need to fill out one main application for all CSU schools, but have to pay an application fee for each
  • Submissions period is from October 1st to November 30th
  • Send SAT and/or ACT score(s)
  • Most likely for CSU schools, you will just have to send in your best test score
  • SAT Subject Tests and transcripts are not required (they will ask you for your transcript when they want it)
  • CSU application just asks for basic information, test scores, and grades
  • No essays and letters of recommendations

UC Application

  • Used for UC San Diego, UC Los Angeles, UC Riverside, etc.
  • You only need to fill out one main application for all UC schools, but have to pay an application fee for each
  • Submission period is from November 1st to November 30th
  • Send SAT and/or ACT score(s)
  • Most likely for UC schools, you will just have to send in your best test score
  • Some UC schools highly recommend SAT Subject Tests so check to see if you are applying to one that does
  • Transcripts are not required (they will ask you for your transcript when they want it)
  • Two essays required (around 500 words each)
  • Letters of recommendations are not required

Common Application

  • Used by a lot of private and out of state schools (Pepperdine, University of Southern California, University of San Diego, etc.)
  • Submission period varies
  • Early action – apply early and find out early whether or not you get in
  • Regular decision – apply under the regular decision deadlines that everyone else does
  • Early decision – Binding decision and you can only apply to one school early decision. You are telling them that if you get into their college, that you will attend it.
  • One main Common Application for all colleges, but some require supplemental information/essays as well
  • Send SAT and/or ACT test scores, but check to see which test scores they want because some colleges might want ALL your test scores, or some might even super score
  • SAT Subject Test might be required by some schools so make sure you check if they are
  • Transcripts are required
  • Generally, Mid-Year Reports and Final Reports are required
  • Secondary School Reports (Counselor Letter of Recommendation) and Teacher Letters of Recommendation are required
  • Try to ask two academic teachers from your sophomore and/or junior years for letters of recommendations
  • Ask your counselor and teacher what their preferred method is for sending in letters of recommendations

Institutional Applications

  • For schools that have their own application form on their school website
  • Make sure you go to the “Admissions” section for the school and see what is required for first year students
  • Submission period varies

ESSAYS

Applications & Essays 2
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Essays

First Step: Brainstorming

  • Brainstorm ideas based off of your personality traits and your strengths
  • Focus on all the positive sides of yourself
  • Become familiar with all the prompts
  • Visit the colleges website and go under the “Admissions” section to see what the prompts are
  • Most of the time you can use one essay for another school’s essay

Second Step: Topics to Avoid

  • Religion – it is okay to right a religious essay for a religious school, but if you are applying to some public schools that are non-religious, you want to make sure that you stay away from the topic because you never know who’s reading your essay (same goes for politics)
  • Try to stay away from topics such as divorce and death because while they might be important events for you, a lot of other students have experienced them as well. If you are planning on writing on one of those topics, make sure that you are coming at a unique angle
  • Stay away from topics that could make you look unstable or unstable in the past (ex. depression)

Third Step: Outlining

  • Get down all of your ideas on a piece of paper
  • You might find that you will have more to say about one idea over another. This might mean that you are more passionate about one so go ahead and stick with that idea for your essay.
  • Brainstorm at least 3 supporting ideas
  • Brainstorm a couple different ideas because you will have multiple essay prompts. If one idea doesn’t work for one prompt, it might for another.

Fourth Step: Let Your First Draft Flow

  • Get all of your ideas down on a piece of paper. You will have time to refine it later.

Fifth Step: Develop Three Essay Parts

  • Forget everything that you know about writing a five paragraph essay. Focus on an introduction, main body paragraph, and conclusion.

Sixth Step: Be Specific

  • Make sure that your essay addresses every single part of the essay prompt
  • Be concise
  • Showcase your creative writing skills

Seventh Step: Find a Creative Angle

  • Make sure that your essay is unique and stands out amongst everyone else’s

Eighth Step: Be Honest

  • Admissions officers want to know more about you, not a fictional character

Ninth Step: Get Some Feedback

  • Ask your parents, teachers, and friends to look over your essay
  • It never hurts to get another person’s perspective

Tenth Step: Proof Read and Make Corrections

  • Make sure that there are no typos, spelling errors, and grammatical errors
  • Make sure that you have someone look over your essay because most likely they will see something that you will not
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