The college application process doesn’t end once you’ve sent off your essays, student resume, and transcripts. Even when application deadlines have passed, there is still plenty that can be done to enhance your portfolio and improve your chance of admission – and we’ve got some tips to help you do just that.
Though you may be tempted to sit back, relax, and passively wait for those acceptance letters to start rolling in, resist the urge to do so. It’s understandable that you may need a rest, but don’t delude yourself into thinking it’s out of your hands now.
Take these tips to heart and show admission committees you are, in fact, a living, breathing, interesting person, rather than just a list of test scores and grades. You’ve worked too hard to give up now!
1. Keep colleges in the loop.
Maintaining a dialogue with the colleges you’ve applied to is one of the most important tips there is if you want to separate yourself from the pack and secure a place at your dream school. Admission counselors love to hear about the latest, greatest happenings in your life, so if anything big happens after submitting your application — such as receiving a prestigious honor or award — let them know about it!
2. Schedule an interview.
When it comes to college admission interviews, you have nothing to lose, but plenty to gain. Even if it’s not required, an interview is a great way to show off your personality, put a face to your name, and distinguish yourself from the stacks of applications cluttering up the admissions office. It all goes back to creating a relationship with the college. Admission counselors are much more likely to root for you if they have had a chance to get to know you rather than just read about your grades and qualifications on a piece of paper.
And as most colleges offer alumni interviews, you don’t even have to worry about trekking to campus. With these interviews, an alum in your area will meet with you in an informal setting and report back to the admissions committee about the experience. It doesn’t get much more low pressure than chatting over a coffee, but it can work wonders to have someone who actually went to the school recommending you.
3. Send your latest test scores.
If you’ve decided to take the SAT or ACT one more time in hopes of gaining a few more points, be sure to submit your scores to colleges by their respective deadlines. You definitely want those updated scores in your admissions file, so be sure to check with each individual school for its applicable deadline.
4. Get more recommendations.
As college admission counselors can only learn so much about prospective students by going through their applications and reading their personal essays, they often rely on recommendation letters to learn about what applicants are actually like as people. Having teachers and mentors ready to vouch for you says a lot about your character, so be sure to enhance your application with some quality reference letters (emphasis on “quality” – no need to bombard them with more than three recommendations).
Many schools have a deadline for references separate from the deadline for applications, so if you’re looking for one last testimonial to boost your portfolio, make sure to get it in on time!
5. Visit campus. Again.
Another helpful tip is to pay a visit to colleges after submitting your application — even if you’ve already done so in the past. Going out of your way to stop by campus will make you seem more interested and serious about attending the school, which could help to separate you from the pack and improve your chances of being accepted. Just be sure to stop by the admissions office so they know you were there!
Winter break is a perfect time to do this, especially as it will give you a better idea of what life is actually like on campus at a time when few get to see it. Tours and prospective student events are usually held in the spring and fall when it’s nicer outside, so this will help you to see if you could bear the winter there, when the campus isn’t perfectly manicured and overrun with blossoming flowers.
There are many other things to take care of after sending in your applications, such as applying for scholarships and financial aid, going in for auditions if you are applying for a performance-based program, and focusing on your schoolwork (colleges check to see that you are keeping your grades up, so no slacking off!). The list doesn’t end here. These tips are just a few of the things you can do after submitting an application to make yourself stand out from the crowd and help your chances of being granted admission to your college of choice.