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College Apps Final Tips
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It’s Deadline Time: College Apps Final Tips

You’ve been working on these applications for months. Revising your essays tens of times and scouring every corner of your mind to figure out the right order of your activities can be a stressful experience. Now that it’s almost deadline time, I’m sure there are a lot of nerves and jitters before sending in your applications. But guess what? You are so close to the end! For that, you deserve a pat on the back.

After doing all this work, it’s worth it to take a look over just one more time. After all, you don’t want to let all your hard work be undermined by something you accidentally misread or misunderstood. In this article, we’ll talk about some final tips you can employ to maximize your application.

Academic History

Make sure to report your GPA to as many decimal places as you have on your transcript. If the number of decimal places on the application is less than your transcript, just apply normal rounding rules. For example, if your high school reported GPA is 3.397 and the application takes 2 digits, the GPA you enter will be 3.40. 

Next, remember that you typically want to be reporting your weighted GPA (unless it explicitly asks you for your unweighted). Hopefully, the weighted value is higher than your unweighted due to any Honors or AP classes you have taken. 

Class ranks are issued by some schools to help you measure your academic standing relative to other people in your class. Some applications ask you for this number. Enter it if you have it, leave it blank if you don’t.

UCs don’t need you to report PE or Health. HOWEVER, Leadership and Religious studies should be included in the “Coursework other than A-G” section.

Quick Tips

  • If you take any Semester long course, make sure to mark it appropriately. Government and Economics classes are typically misreported.
  • UCs don’t want you to send your transcript before your applications, so wait before sending them in!
  • Only include classes take in the start of freshman year and afterwards

Required Documents & Documentation Deadlines

This first tip goes without saying but remember to READ carefully the documentation requirements for the college you’re applying to AS WELL as their due dates. The most notable example is for the UC’s. They require no transcript, and for this application season (Fall 2021 enrollment), no standardized testing. However, it is still best to send an official test score if you have “a good score” relative to your GPA. To do this, just send your score(s) to just one UC directly through College Board or ACT platforms.

Activities & Awards

The activities section carries more weight than you think in the application process. It’s imperative that you maximize it. First, make sure to check for grammar and then check for it again. You’d be surprised how many applications contain basic grammar errors. Remember, there is a place for just about everything you did outside of the classroom. So if you have any activity not listed – be it self-studying Python to self-learning the guitar – it’s wise to add it if you have the room. If you don’t have any more room for activities, consider using the Additional Comments section.

Essays

This is our most popular line of questioning and that’s why we try to address it as much as possible. Check out our article and video on the UC PIQs and our article and video on acing the college admissions essays. For a bite sized summary, read on. The number one way to check your essays is by asking yourself one simple question. “Do I answer the prompt?” We are sure that you have heard this before from all of your english teachers. Surprise, surprise it is still relevant! If you don’t answer the prompt, it does not matter how eloquent or well illustrated your essay is. It doesn’t count. Common examples are for UC PIQ #6, which asks for a student’s favorite academic subject, many students respond with a desired career path or profession. Or for UIUC’s supplemental essay asking for recent experiences pertaining to one’s major, many students start talking about experiences that date back to elementary school, or why they’re interested in going to UIUC – both off topic.

Additional Comments

This section is the most underutilized section in the entire application. That makes it very relevant to the people that do use it. For a full discussion on this section, check out this video. To summarize, ask yourself this question. Is there anything else about you that’s not fully and clearly told in the rest of your application? Both the Common App and UC App provide A LOT of space for you to elaborate. Use this section to explain any anomalies in grades, any activities you weren’t able to cover in detail, or other life circumstances that affected your high school experience. It may not seem important, but every bit counts – especially since someone is trying to make an informed decision on the next 4+ years of your life!

I hope that this provides some valuable insight into how to quality check your applications before submitting. For a full feature and even more detail, check out our YouTube video about it.

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