Getting In Without Going Crazy

A lot of research, thought and time is required to select a school—let alone to clench your acceptance there. Here are some tips on what you should (and shouldn't) do during the college quest.

DO apply to safety schools. You know where you want to get in. But where can you pretty much bank on admission? Even if you can’t get your “dream” education, you can still get a good one. Pick a Plan B (or C or D) that your grades and experiences favor, and don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

DON'T let tuition intimidate you. Sure, you need to take into account whether attending a certain school will sink you into debt, but don’t let the cost make the decision for you. If an expensive college would be a great match for you, pursue as many scholarship and financial aid options as you can.

DO get help applying. Have a couple different people look over your forms— and not just a student your age. Ask advisors and professionals about what to include or improve, and have someone with proofreading experience give it a final look.

DON'T let your pre-college relationships determine where you go to school. No matter how much you love your significant other, or how much you’ll miss your best friend, choose a school that fits, challenges and inspires you.

DO write unique application essays. It might be tempting to copy phrasing from other essays, but take time to come up with your own thought-out, original answers. Customize an essay for each school, rather than sending the same general one to each.

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