by Jeannie Borin, M. Ed., College Connections, LLC
It’s easy to form an analogy between college applications and a giant puzzle. Everything has to fit just right for success. Fact is just about everything on college applications has a maximum word or character count. More often than not we hear students say that in high school they are told not to write in the first person and go on to discuss the three to five page report they are required to do. This does not prepare them for maximizing space on college applications.
#1: The Activity Page appears on just about every application. The information required is neat and to the point. Students need to condense their words to roughly 150 characters in the description box – a difficult thing to do when time spent on an activity can be many years. Generally, academic awards can be listed elsewhere on the application and not on the Activity Page. Students should use the available space to mention their part, not the function of an activity or club.
#2: Some supplemental essays only allow 100 words in a response. This is difficult when asked why you want to attend a specific college. Certainly do not tell admission readers what they already know about that school. Here’s an article that should help you answer this inevitable question, read more.
We recommend answering optional essay questions, as admission officers want to gain as much insight on applicants as possible.
#3: We get lots of questions about the additional information box that is presented on several applications. This space should be used to explain any extenuating circumstances and/or relevant information not evident elsewhere on your application.
#4: Use any preview option and check carefully before you submit. This will allow you to see what admission readers will see when they view your application.
#5 Most important – keep writing, revising and condensing your words to fit any required word or character count – The readers will not see much beyond that as the application programs will not display much beyond required word counts.
About the Author
Jeannie Borin, M.Ed is President and Founder of College Connections, LLC. They offer expert college admissions and financial advising for students and families across the U.S. and internationally. She obtained her Bachelors and Masters Degrees at UCLA in psychology, education and counseling. Jeannie has been featured in Time, The Wall Street Journal and on CNN, Fox, MSNBC, ABC and CBS News. CBS Money Watch named her the number one college advisor to follow on Twitter. She is a professional member of several prestigious educational organizations. Jeannie is recognized by media, clientele and colleagues globally as a leader in college admissions consulting and new media.