Last-Minute College Application Tips

By Peterson's Staff updated on Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Applications are highly evolved documents, based on numerous admission deans asking themselves if they're asking you the right questions. For that reason, how you fill out an application is almost as important as the information you include. In other words, follow directions! Here are some other college common application tips.

Review college application requirements

An application for college typically involves a fair amount of paperwork. So before you hit the post office, take a long last look at your application.

  • If you're applying electronically, did you type carefully and check your spelling? If you're applying on paper, was your application filled out neatly?
  • Did you take shortcuts? A partially completed application is a clear signal that you are not an eager applicant.
  • Did you send too much information? If a two-page essay is requested, did you send in four? Only do so if you're not sending fluff!
  • Did you send all the information that was asked for — including transcripts, test scores, and recommendations?
  • Did you meet or beat deadlines?


Submit college applications as early as possible

With deadlines in sight, keep in mind that admission offices are inundated with applications for a few months each year. Consider getting your college application form in when the staff doesn't have hundreds and hundreds of them to read.

Stragglers are accepted of course, but why send yours in at the last minute when you could get it there before the rush hits?

Double-check the writing in your college application

Nothing says "I don't really care about this college" like inadvertently putting another college's name somewhere in the application. The same goes with spelling the college's name incorrectly. Either error signals a major lack of seriousness about really wanting to attend that particular school.

Avoid sending gifts with college applications

Gimmicks don't impress application readers, either. No matter how tempting it may be when you really, really want to get into a particular school, sending cookies or balloon bouquets doesn't make a good impression. It's better to get noticed for the right things, like academic excellence and leadership qualities.

All in all, it's impossible for you to guess what admission officers at a particular college will want to hear. When writing your college application, put your energy into focusing on who you are and conveying that information in the best way you can. Stay true to yourself and the acceptance letters will come.

About the Author

Peterson's has more than 40 years of experience in higher education, and the expert staff members here are all ready to leverage their considerable knowledge and experience to help you succeed on your educational journey. We have the information, the know-how, and the tools -- now all we need is you!

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