How to Fix a Not-So Perfect Application

by
Market Research Senior Analyst, Carnegie Communications

Sep   2011

Mon

05

It is the start of senior year and you are beginning to apply to college. Suddenly, you realize you may not have the most amazing grades, or maybe you haven’t been as involved in extracurricular activities as you should have been, or maybe you didn’t ace that SAT or ACT test.

Whatever the blemish is on your application, understand that you can still get into a great school. Just because you may have average grades, it does not mean you will look average to admission counselors!

First, leverage your strengths on your application. If you are on sports teams, active in drama or other clubs in high school, this can help you stand out. Even if you have no “school involvement” but volunteer at an animal shelter or work part-time, all of these things help. These activities have helped you build character and make you who you are today. They also allow the institution to see how well you will fit in their campus environment. Your strengths can also give you excellent ideas for my next point: the essay!

Make sure to put a lot of hard work into the essay. I think my essay was read by at least three teachers, and a total of 25 times before I mailed it to any college. The idea came from where I worked in the summers: a small takeout restaurant. In my essay, I explained that I had been living my life serving others, and how I wanted to be on the other end, sinking my teeth into a burger (a play off the waitress role I had been doing since I was a sophomore). Use the essay to highlight your achievements, or something you are passionate about. And do NOT forget to have your essay proofread.

An interview can also be a great way to put your best foot forward, if the schools you are applying to offer this as an option. Remember to always present yourself like it’s a job interview. Wear clean clothes (that are not wrinkled), nice shoes, and if you’re a girl no excessive makeup. Depending on the school, you may even want to opt to wear a suit. Remember: you can only make one first impression! The interview is an opportunity to really shine and let the admission counselors put a face to a name on an application.

Finally, don’t forget to double-check everything and submit your application early! If you are on top of your applications you will look prepared and motivated to admission counselors. It can only help you out in the long run!

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About Rebecca Pilloni

Rebecca Pilloni

Rebecca is a Market Research Analyst at Carnegie Communications. She has worked exclusively with colleges and universities, both public and private, on branding, positioning and curriculum viability projects. Rebecca graduated from Bentley University last year, with a double major in Marketing and Global Perspectives. In college, she was actively involved in women’s rugby, Colleges Against Cancer, and Relay for Life. Thinking back to her own college search and admission process, she regrets not doing more research! Rebecca is an avid sports fan, traveler, and loves spending time outdoors. She is looking forward to sharing some of the things she experienced to make your college search a success!

 
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