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When you’re headed into the admissions process, there are some key things you’re going to want to do and some key things you’re going to want to avoid. Like becoming a deadline zombie.

Not sure what those are? Keep reading, and find out!

  1. DO give yourself as much time as possible.
    • More than anything else, planning and working ahead will make the application process more successful and less stressful.
  2. DON’T be a deadline zombie
    • Deadline zombie (noun): a student who staggers around half awake because they started an application just four hours before the midnight deadline. Craves caffeine, not brains.
  3. DO ask questions.
    • Admissions departments provide valuable info about the institution and its application process – don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions or need help.
  4. DON’T pester the admissions department.
    • Avoid being one of those overly enthusiastic applicants who calls/emails admissions officers daily or sends gifts to their office. Protip: make sure your parents aren’t doing this either.
  5. DO research potential target colleges.
    • There are countless options to help you learn about institutions, from school websites and admissions personnel to guidebooks and online resources.
  6. DON’T apply to every school in the book.
    • With college applications, more is not automatically better – and no, the Common App is not an invitation to apply to every school that takes it, from Adelphi to Yale.
  7. DO give early thought to financial aid.
    • Many students only start researching scholarships, grants, and loans after their college apps are done – starting earlier can give you a significant advantage in securing funds for college.
  8. DON’T assume you can’t afford a given school.
    • Many of the most expensive schools out there also have the most financial aid to offer.
  9. DO stay organized.
    • Whether a schedule book, online calendar program, or hundreds of sticky notes, find a way to give your memory some help when it comes to remembering important info while applying.
  10. DON’T take things too seriously.
    • Yes, applying to college is challenging and important – but it’s not the end of the world. Throughout the process, be sure to find time for the things you’re passionate about in life, like friends, activities, and ice cream.