Creating & Narrowing Down Your College Application List

Hi lovelies!  For this whole college application process, I’ve had to learn a lot of things by myself and I don’t really have any real life help due to the fact that I’ve moved to an entirely different state and thus a new high school but alas that’s not the point of this. Since the Common App is going to be opening up in two days, I figured I share some helpful tips and websites to help you find some colleges to apply to because I know how hard it’s been for me to do this solo.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

hey! I have a question pertaining to one that you just answered. If we are applying in the fall and sending our junior transcripts do they also ask for our senior classes even if we don't have final grades? or do we send those grades after we are accepted? I never understood this! please help!

I think your counselor shares your senior year class load as part of their report on the rigor of your classes, but I could be wrong. Does anyone else know?

I'm stressin over college so I'm making an application masterpost

Essay writing advice

Choosing a university

Extracurriculars on the common app

Early Action vs Early Decision

The whole proccess

Improve your activities list

List of other college app blogs

Woah a thing for art school portfolios

Masterpost within a masterpost (this one has so much stuff, 10/10 would reccomend)

Prepare for college

SAT ACT GRE preparation Free

College application tips

As I come across more stuff I will add on to this. Good luck my friends.

if you’re applying to colleges next year tHIS IS THE BEST TOOL EVER! Zoomita is a way of organizing the colleges you’re going to and the essays you’re going to have to write! And creating an account is free:) 

So after you sign up, you can add schools to your list! This is my list: 

If you click on essay graph, a pdf will pop up with all the essay requirements for all the schools you’re applying to.

And then if you click on each school, it’ll show the common app essay that you have to write and the supplemental essays for each school! And once you type up your essay, you can send it in for a reviewer to check over!

Good luck with college apps y’all!! 

hello appblr world!! I recently graduated high school (c/o 2015), and I will be attending Duke University in the fall, hoping to pursue a double major in English and Political Science with a minor in either Psychology or Neuroscience :’) 

applying to colleges was one of the most stressful experiences of my life, so I really want to help out anyone who is now currently feeling those tidal waves of anxiety and panic. my intention is to help and hopefully alleviate any nerves about applying to college (in America)

the summer before my senior year, every time I read the word ‘college’, my heart rate spiked & I started internally freaking out. for me, the whole process was super overwhelming, and my distaste for the education system (specifically, the american education system) quadrupled. I remember feeling incredibly confused and alone because I didn’t know where to start, so here is a lil guide thingy!!! 


  • make sure and finish all your summer assignments – I know that college applications are a strong focus, but get what you’re supposed to do out of the way first + you will feel less overwhelmed and more productive
  • start making a list of colleges that you want to apply for – my best suggestion is to categorize them into safety schools, match schools, and reach schools
    • ref: generally people look at a school’s admitted profile (on the school website) and compare stats, which means gpa, rank, test scores, etc. if you can, it’s also helpful to read into their supplementary essay prompts and examples to give you a general idea of what a college is looking for (ex. UChicago is notoriously known for their quirky supplementary essay prompts; famous past prompts include: Find X, Where’s Waldo?, Why are you here?, What’s so odd about odd numbers?) 
  • do lots of research on schools you’re interested in – ok now I know that reading these long paragraphs on school websites can get really tiring, so try watching some youtube videos or looking the school up on reddit, and be sure to talk to current students to get a first-hand account
    • look at location, diversity, the programs offered in relation to what you’re interested in, size, public vs private institutions, sports, social scene, political affiliations, financial aid offered, study abroad, etc)
  • try and figure out a general field of what you’re interested in – you do NOT need to know what you want to major in, but when you’re applying for colleges, you will most likely need to select an intended major; if not, you will apply as undeclared, which has its advantages and disadvantages!! but even with an intended major, most colleges don’t make you officially select a major until sophomore, sometimes even junior year, so it is okay to not know what you wanna do when you’re 16/17/18!!! but explore and reflect and try and figure out a general field of what you’re interested in. do NOT use your grades as a sole factor in deciding; if you are good at math and have really high grades, that does not necessarily mean that you should be a math major - pursue your passions!! if you know that you like writing and reading, then consider a major in english or literature. if you think you’d like to work with computer software, then consider a major in computer science or computer engineering. ALSO know that there are so many potential majors + even the option to create your own at some universities!! and also know that many people change majors, and that is totally ok :) 
  • in august, common app will open, which is what many colleges use for the application process. certain schools will have specific websites themselves (i.e. MIT, University of California schools, etc) – if you make an account BEFORE august, it will be deleted by then, so be careful!! now, when you make ur account, you can add schools and you can look at their supplements and stuff. be sure and note deadlines!! 


  • keep up with your school work – senioritis is REAL AND ALIVE, my friends. you will think it’s really bad first semester, but then it just explodes into a frenzy of apathy and indifference second semester + you basically don’t care about anything; this is normal, but still try and focus. colleges can rescind their acceptances, altho it’s not likely unless you suddenly fail everything, but overall, it’s just important to still try
  • keep good relations with your teachers (both current teachers and past teachers) & decide on which to ask for a rec – for many schools, they will require at least one teacher recommendation, so you must decide between which teachers you wanna ask. I would advise picking the teachers you’ve always had good relations with, and in a subject where you’re really passionate about learning the material. when asking, be respectful of deadlines (aka don’t ask them to write you a rec two days before the deadline. they are people too), and be sure and say thank you. if you can, make them a card or make/buy them a little gift; I promise you, they’ll appreciate it!! 
    • if the school you’re applying to requires multiple teacher recs: many people advise asking teachers of different subjects to emphasize your well-roundedness – you can do that or you can ask teachers of one subject that you’re really interested in; weigh your options and politely ask. asking teachers can be really scary sometimes, especially if you’re very shy, but they’re there to help you and it’ll all work out :)
  • write a common app essay (if applicable) – common app has 4 prompts that you can choose from, and then you’ll submit that to all the colleges ur applying to thru common app. this is very important. if you’re not a good writer, do not fret!! most of the time, the subject of these essays are very personal. a lot of people write about some trying time in their lives, but plenty of other people write creatively about something small, but important. remember that essays are a way for admission directors to get to know the real you :’) that sounds super cliche, but keep in mind that you are more than ur gpa and ur sat/act score. prove that to them by writing about something you care about
    • if you are ok with it (and it’s totally ok to not be ok with it), ask someone you trust to read over it and edit it. a lot of people ask their language arts teachers just bc they’ll help with grammar and structure, but asking other trusted adults and peers will be helpful too!! keep in mind the potential of bias from parents + friends though 
    • you will most likely write your common app essay multiple times. you will have lots of drafts & it can be really stressful, but patience. you will be so happy when you finally finish 
  • finalize your college list and start writing supplementary essays – many colleges will have supplementary parts to the application on top of common app. this can range from totally separate essays to lil short-answer questions, so be prepared and give yourself plenty of time to write!! just as with your common app essay, getting feedback can be super helpful
    • also remember that many colleges accept arts supplements (this range depends on the college, but I’ve seen colleges accept writing, dance, music, visual art, etc) & these fall under a different deadline, usually. if you want to submit in an art supplement, you may have to submit in your essays and everything earlier 
    • OH ALSO some colleges will have an early decision or early application deadline – this is basically an earlier deadline for ur app in exchange for an earlier decision. be careful on the difference between EA and ED!!! ED is BINDING, which means that if you get in, you have to go (you can get out of it for financial reasons tho), and EA is NONBINDING, which means that even if you get in, you can decide to go to another school
  • submit in your transcript and any test scores you need – different schools have different policies, but most fall under either the SAT + SAT 2 scores OR ACT + writing scores; I would suggest contacting the counseling office asap, but be super nice!! counselors are there to help you through this process, but it can be really overwhelming for them too
    • pay close attention to whether or not ur college requires a counseling rec or not
  • double check everything for small details – some colleges accept peer recs, but sometimes they don’t publicize that detail very much so just be observant! same with priority deadlines for interviews; you may have to submit in your app earlier if you want priority for an interview
  • accept ur interview opportunities – meet with an alumni or go on campus if you can and give an interview!! they’re really helpful sometimes bc it provides the school with a look into who you are as a person, not just as a student. also, from my experience, the alumni are super nice and really interested + it’s nice to just talk and nerd out about the school you like :’) 
  • submit ur apps (hehehe of course!) 
  • apply for scholarships – this is something that I wish I had taken more seriously, but really, college is expensive and scholarships can make all the difference. talk to your counselors if you don’t know where to start & literally just google for them!! be careful you are eligible for the ones you’re interested in and make sure you submit everything in by the deadline too 


  • distract yourself like crazy – the wait is horrible and the anticipation is killer, if you’re anything like me at least. hang out with your friends and just enjoy your senior year!! this is the last of high school & i promise you that as much as you may hate it (if you do hate it), you will feel bittersweet by the end of the year. so make memories and make the best out of the time you have left in high school 
  • check your email – colleges oftentimes send you emails if they need you to send them anything more, or they’ll update you about things. they’ll usually also email you with where you need to go to check your decision
  • don’t let the senioritis take over ur soul 


  • acceptances – YAY CONGRATULATIONS!!! be proud of yourself and know that you deserve it 100000%, wholeheartedly. they did not make a mistake, and you ARE that amazing. celebrate your accomplishment, but also be humble. it’s likely that you have a friend that either got waitlisted or denied, so be careful what you say 
  • rejections – i’m sorry, my dear!! but you are not meant to be at that school, and that is okay. even if it is your dream school. this does not reflect ur self-worth & this def does not mean that you aren’t good enough. this simply means you aren’t a good fit for the school!! most people have to deal with rejections, so take some time for yourself. eat some comfort food and watch some tv. read a book if that relaxes you. take a bath with lots of bubbles. do whatever is necessary to cleanse yourself of any negative thoughts you may have, and then realize that you can accomplish SO much wherever you end up!! UR A BRILLIANT SHINING STAR & I HAVE FAITH IN YOU :’)
  • waitlisted – being waitlisted (or deferred during EA/ED, which basically pushed you back to the regular decision time) sucks so much bc you just want to know; take a deep breath and consider all your options. make backup plans. if you’re really interested in the school, email them and tell them that!! make sure if you want to be on the waitlist, that you notify them of that (usually via mail or online somehow). if you don’t wanna be on the waitlist, make sure you take yourself off so you give everyone else a better chance :) 
  • weigh your options through careful, careful consideration – there are so many factors that may come into play when finally deciding on which college to go to
    • money is usually a huge factor, and sometimes you won’t be able to go to a great school even though you got in bc it’s too expensive. but do not be sad about this. give yourself time to feel sad, but don’t let it dictate your life!! you need to stay logical and rational. think long-term. sit down with your guardians and discuss the option of taking out loans and so forth. if you’re planning on pursuing grad school afterwards, you need to keep that in the picture as well 
    • talk to current-students and compare important things – if you’re really big on community service, ask the current students at different schools how it is there. this applies for everything!! first-hand accounts are incredibly helpful. you can also consider emailing professors of departments you’re interested in for a more professional and academic perspective 
    • look into their programs and try and avoid putting too much emphasis on rankings - be specific and read up on the department that you’re interested and compare them with different schools. don’t blindly let an overall ranking mislead you!! (i.e. Duke is ranked higher overall than Georgia Tech, but Georgia Tech is ranked MUCH higher in many of its engineering programs) 
    • talk to people – talk to your parents. talk to your counselors, your teachers, your peers. basically everyone is talking about college your senior year, so take advantage of it. talk with other people and get second, third, fourth, fifth opinions. expand your mind and consider everything!! 

senior year is this giant conglomeration of sweat and tears and happiness and anger and jealous and confusion, so do not worry if you are feeling overwhelmed!! it is normal, and i promise that everyone has felt scared about the future at some point. but with that, be confident in yourself. you’re absolutely lovely + you will go far in life!! 

ok 1) I apologize for how absurdly long this post is and 2) I am here to help if ANYONE has ANY questions about anything!! literally I would love giving advice, so feel free to msg me anytime (my main account is @naiveety though, so whichever works) 

ALSO if anyone is interested in Duke, please please please come to me & I will help!!!



So I’m applying to universities this year and this stuff is stressful af.

Where do I apply?? Are they a reach?? Target?? Safety??? Wait - I have too many reaches, I need to narrow it down!?!

Today, upon comparing uni’s to settle with a final list I stumbled upon this BEAUTY of a website. 

It’s called College Start Class and oh my I wish I found it earlier. It gives you a ton of information about uni’s in America from financial aid to average SAT score to weather, practically everything you need to know. 

Not only that but you can type up two colleges you want to compare to narrow down your list and it basically makes choosing 100% easier.

this has been a PSA for all of those who don’t know this exists.

anonymous asked:

I'm having a hard time writing my personal statement. What are some tips you have on how to write a good personal statement? Thanks!

My Tips:

  • Write many, many drafts. Write them on different topics. Rewrite the same drafts several times.
  • Have people read them. Take them to school counselors, advisers, and staff members who are on scholarship committees, even if you’re not applying for their scholarship.
  • Show that you have passion for whatever you plan on doing.
  • Don’t actually use the word “passion”.
  • Don’t use purple prose.
  • No one cares about your beloved high school teacher who inspired you to do blah blah blah. Everyone has heard this story. Whoever reads your essay will roll their eyes because they’ve probably read hundreds more like it. Write about something specific to you.
  • For you English/Literature majors: No one cares if you’ve been reading/writing since you were a kid. That’s true for pretty much every English/Lit major.
  • Keep it short. If they give you a maximum of one thousand words, that does not mean they want to read one thousand words. Keep it around one page or less.
  • Don’t use quotes from other people. This is all about you, not what someone else said.
  • Don’t put all of your achievements in a list.
  • I’ve heard at least three college professors complain about essays that start with “in modern society today” or “in our society today” or “in the world we live in today”. They’re cliche and they’re redundant. Of course modern society is today. That’s why it’s modern.
  • Make sure whatever you write about is relevant to the question for the personal statement or relevant to your reason for applying to whatever you’re applying to.
  • Show that you have long term goals and that whatever you’re applying for now will help you in the future.
  • Stick to one topic.
  • Back up your claims. Anyone can say they are ambitious. You have to show that you are ambitious for it to hold any weight in a personal statement.
  • Whenever you mention an academic or extracurricular achievement, talk about how it has helped you and how it is relevant. Winning a major spelling bee is irrelevant if you’re applying for nursing school unless you’re able to use that fact to show that you have excellent memory, which is valuable in many fields.
  • Don’t try to be funny.
  • Talk about what you hope to learn.


A Guide to Visiting Colleges

As you start researching colleges and looking into schools to apply to, you’re most likely going to try to visit a few to get a feel for the campus. Read on for tips to make the most of your college visits.


  • Research colleges: I know its tempting to visit all 20 schools on your list but not only is it impractical, its a waste of your time. Instead figure out your very top school(s) that you desperately want to get into and put those on your list (Ideally this should not be more than 2-3 schools). Next find the schools you have some interest in but you’re going to need a little more information before you decide. Lastly, add a few safeties and matches to your list to balance it out. 
  • Variety: Once you have your list, look it over and see what kind of schools you have. Do you have public schools as well as private schools? Do you have urban schools as well as rural schools? Safeties and reaches? I know its tempting to just visit the ones you think you’re gonna like but be sure to add some variety so you can get a feel for all sorts of colleges. Then after you visit, you can make your decision on whether you want to go public/private, urban/rural, etc. 
  • Pick out Dates: Look at your own schedule and figure when you want to visit. Do you want to visit multiple schools in one trip? If so you’re going to need enough time to travel to and from so summertime would be ideal. Do you want to visit one school at a time throughout the year? If so you shouldn’t need more than a weekend to do so. Check the university’s website to find timing and make sure you register for whatever session that you will be attending for!
  • Create folders: If you’re only visiting a few schools you might not want to bother doing this but when I visited colleges, I went on a roadtrip and visited 6 so I needed a way to organize myself. What I ended up doing was creating a folder for each school I would visit so that while I was on campus, I could put all the flyers and papers they handed out into one neat little place. Below you can see my folders for Columbia, Princeton, NYU, Hopkins, WASHU, and UPenn. 
  • Information sheets: Along with the folders, I made this little visit sheet and put a copy in each folder. This ended up being extremely useful as I could tell what information I already had and what information I still needed to find out. It was an excellent way to make sure I found our everything I needed to know about each school. If you would like me to email this to you, just send me a message and I’d be happy to do so!

Questions: Before you leave for your visits, sit down and write down all the questions you have about the school no matter how small. Being on campus is the best time to get these questions answered by admissions officers or even students.


  • Admissions Session: This is usually the first part of your visit and the best time for you to fill out your info sheet with basic information on the school. This is also the time to ask any questions you may have regarding the admissions process for that specific school
  • Campus Visit: Immediately following your admissions session will be a campus tour usually led by a current student. While touring the campus, pay attention to your surroundings and see how you like it. Can you picture yourself here for the next four years? At the end of the tour, ask your tour guide any questions you have regarding life on campus and classes. If  possible, get their contact information! It never hurts to have a friend on campus. 
  • Explore: Typically after campus tour, most people will leave, however, if you have the time I highly encourage you to stay and spend some time in the area. Whether its having lunch in the city or strolling through the neighborhood, try to see if you would enjoy the area enough to live there for your college years. 
  • Flyers: If you see any pamphlets and flyers on campus, grab them and add to your folder! I know it may seem ridiculous to stock up on those papers but you never know when you (or a friend) might need that information. 
  • Make Friends: No seriously, make some friends on the campus! Whether its a professor or a student just find someone who can help you find out more about the school and figure out if its right for you even after you go home. I have made it point to know someone at every single one of my schools and it has proven to be invaluable.


After your visit is over and you’ve returned home, it’s time for you to make some decisions. You should have a good idea of whether or not you are still genuinely interested in the schools you visited so start by going through your list and removing any that you’ve lost interest in after the campus visit. Start doing more research and narrow down your list to the schools you want to apply to.

Hope that was helpful! I will post my outline sheet as soon as I get ahold of it (its on my old laptop ;/)

-Ramya // futurecristinayang





I never really have much to complain about when it comes to school. Sure, there’s a lot of homework and some teachers suck, but that comes with the package. What I do hate though: the fact that some students work so hard they only get a few hours of sleep every night. The fact that GPA matters more than 3 square meals a day. The fact that having an unrealistic amount of extracurriculars is more important that spending quality time with your family. But most of all, I hate that I, an incredibly hard working student, am overlooked simply because I am not number 1. And that is the American school system in a nutshell.
—  how I’ve been feeling lately

5 Tips for College Applications

As a recent high school graduate, I know how stressful the college application process is. Hell, I only applied to 4 schools and it was stressful (and none of them were even Ivy League!). But after months of stress, essay re-writes, interviews, and filling out FAFSA, I did get in to 3 out of the 4 schools I applied to and I’m now enrolled to begin at my dream school this fall! Here are the things the helped me maintain my sanity and get into the school of my dreams.

1. Start early. 

Unfortunately, one of the schools I applied to was a last minute decision. Like, I literally started and finished the application two days before the deadline. And it was the most stressful two days of my life. So, take it from someone who knows: as soon as the applications goes online, start it. Even if that only means entering in your name, high school, and address, it’s better than nothing and will save your time and your sanity later on. Plus, you’ll have more time to focus on your personal statement and really showcase who you are.

2. Keep all of your information in one place. 

If not all of your applications are on the Common App (only one of mine was), it helps to keep all important information (i.e: Social Security number, high school transcript, volunteer and work experience phone numbers and addresses, recommendation letters, etc.) in one place so that you can access everything you need without hunting around every time you fill out an application. 

3. Proofread. And proofread again. 

In fact, get three different people help you proofread and at least one person to help you edit your personal statement. You don’t want to get dinged by the admissions staff because you accidentally left the comma out of “it’s” or used “affect” when you should have used “effect.” And if you’re going to have a teacher edit it (especially if it’s an English teacher), be sure to ask early. They’ll be getting tons of requests and you don’t want them to pass you up because they’re tired of reading personal statements.

4. Be Yourself.

Whether you are writing your personal statement or sitting in an interview with a college rep, make sure you’re being genuine. Trust me, it’s easy to spot someone who’s kissing up to the interviewer or telling them what they think the interviewer wants to hear, rather than being unique, genuine, and being themselves. Colleges want to accept the real you, not the fake version that you think they want to see. 

5. Relax.

It may seem like the college application process is the only important thing to worry about for the next three months, but I promise you that it’s not. Yes, it is a big deal, but if you’re spending hours upon hours pouring over your essay day in and day out for a month, you’re just going to drive yourself crazy and drive your friends and family away. Take time to relax, enjoy time with your loved ones, and treat yourself kindly. Don’t pass up any fun senior year activities (football games, Homecoming, etc.) just because you want to spend more time perfecting your application. These are experiences you won’t get back if you skip them. By all means, work hard on your applications to make them as good as you can, but don’t sacrifice your life, sanity, or amazing experiences in a misguided pursuit of perfection.

Good luck!

(via ninaspeaksup

  • Me:*walking down the street*
  • Robber:give me your money!
  • Me:I don’t have any, I just paid my college fees.
  • Robber:Dang, man that sucks.
  • Robber:*gives me money, he stole from bank*
  • Robber:I’m so sorry for you, man.

Okay, let’s clear some stuff up:

  1. AP scores do not factor into college admissions.
  2. You are not required to submit AP scores in your college apps.
  3. If you do choose to submit AP scores as supplemental material, they are self-reported, meaning you can choose to submit only your best scores.
  4. AP scores have ONE main purpose: to get you college credit. College credit won’t be calculated until after you’ve already been admitted and made your final decision, which leads us back to…
  5. AP scores do not factor into college admissions.

anonymous asked:

Hi mellisa, I want to download some apps on my iPad to help me with studying and organizing things. Do you have any app recommendation? Thanks!

Yes, definitely! Some of these I don’t personally use anymore, but they’re still good. Most of these work for iPhone and iPad, but there are a few exclusively iPad ones.

  • Mindly - The full version is so worth it, btw. It’s for mindmapping. Plenty of features.
  • Quizlet - …or Evernote Flip if you have a compatible cover. Flashcards, of course.
  • iBooks - Comes with the iPad, I think, but load up the PDF textbooks!
  • iTunes U - Also comes with iPad, I think, but has great lectures from all over.
  • Pronto - It might not be free anymore, but it’s a great to-do app.
  • 30/30 - A pomodoro app that’s super easy to use.
  • Now Then - Also might not be free, but it allows you to record how long certain tasks take so you can plan more efficient studying. (Though you can easily do this manually with a stopwatch app, too.)
  • Recordium - It’s an audio recorder if that wasn’t obvious. I use it to record myself reading summaries I’ve written so I can listen to them when I’m walking around campus. There are other recording apps that work fine, too.
  • iStudiez Pro - The pro version is obviously paid, but it is really useful. It syncs with your calendars showing you a daily or montly schedule with your assignments. You can also put in information about professors and calculate your grades. I’ve never tried the grades thing, personally.
  • Reminders - Comes with all Apple devices, yes. But don’t forget it’s there! It’s simple and does what it needs to.
  • Busy - Another to-do app. It’s very simple and clean. On the sidebar you can add different projects and then organize them into a general Inbox, Important, Later, and Done.
  • Apps Gone Free - The apps I said might not be free anymore are paid ones I found for free on this app. It features a wide variety of apps (including games) but I’ve found a number of great studying/productivity/organization apps. New apps every day.

If I think of more I might edit this list.

What I learned during my college application process

Here are some things I learned during my college app process and a couple valuable articles, hopefully they’ll be useful to the class of 2015:

1. Never ever go on College Confidential. It will only give you unnecessary stress. (This tip is imperative to your sanity and mental health)

2. It’s never too late to add a school to your list. I was adding schools until about Dec 20, and it didn’t hurt my chances of getting accepted. In fact, the school I will be attending was one of my late add-ons!

Keep reading