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Tips for applying for colleges in the US

College admission is one of the most important events in a student’s life that lays the foundation for future career choices and opens up a whole new world for high school students, and graduates doing Masters and also offers a fresh chance for those working adults who choose to come back to college for various reasons.

While applying for colleges in the US, aspiring students should take note of the following tips:

College Application Deadlines

First and foremost, jot down the application deadlines for all the colleges you are interested in. These dates will differ slightly from college to college. It is better you note the deadlines in chronological order so that you can prioritise your time and energy and send your applications in time for all the colleges you are applying to, without last minute regrets and disappointments over a missed deadline.

International students need to be extra careful since their application dates differ from that of US based students and are usually earlier than standard application deadlines. Coupled with that is the time taken for applications and supporting school records to reach the colleges through post or courier. Make sure you factor that in before planning your activities around application dates.

Reference Letter

Secondly, ensure your reference letters are sent from teachers or guides who have known you or taught you at least for 2 years. This way, they can give a more detailed account of your skill set over the years at school and also add a personal touch to your reference letter as they vouch for your performance, sincerity and dedication at high school or college (for students applying for Masters).


Thirdly, for under graduation, most colleges will look at your SAT or ACT scores, as a common denominator to judge your academic performance apart from your high school grades. Decide whether you want to take up only one of these tests or both of them and then prepare well in advance. Some students even take up PSAT just to get a good idea in their junior year at high school. In fact, some high school students take their SAT or ACT in junior year itself so that even if they do not do well that year, they can have another shot at it, a year later. Since you have a better chance at your dream college if you submit your best score, plan your preparation for SAT or ACT well in advance.

College Personal Essay

Fourthly, while writing your college personal essay do write in detail about all your extracurricular activities that showcase the interests and talents you have, the social causes you are passionate about, the various activities you have carried out that demonstrate your leadership skills and managerial skills. Mention what your “take-aways” were from these experiences also; this will give a comprehensive picture to the college admission board about the person you are and that will improve your chances at getting admission.

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