As freshman applicants get ready to apply to colleges, here are a few suggestions for what to do (or not do) during this process. Please understand that these are only hints, and are directed mainly towards UGA applicants, although many apply to all colleges. In addition, I would suggest you view my Suggestions for Writing Admission Essays.
David Graves, Senior Associate Director of Admissions
- Breathe. Take a deep breath and relax. Many people turn the college admission process into a stressful experience. It should be a time for self-exploration and looking to the future.
- Be early. When you submit your application and supplemental materials, be early. If you submit materials on or after stated deadlines, you are showing a lack of preparation and focus, and you give yourself no room for any sort of error. UGA sends out emails, phone messages, and has an online status check to give students information about their applications, but we can only start this process after you apply.
- Be focused. You, the student, need to take the time to look at your interests, your likes and dislikes, your family finances, and your passions, and then look for college matches.
- Be active. Take time to research colleges, visit campuses, and find out details about each college.
- Be organized. Keep all relevant materials from the colleges you are passionate about, and keep them labeled in a file organizer.
- Challenge yourself. Take tough courses, especially in the core areas. College classes are hard, and this is the best way to get ready for it.
- Manage your time wisely. Professors will expect you to do a great deal of work outside of the classroom. The only way to do this is by having a plan in place for how you spend your time. Start managing your time now, and your first semester will not seem so hectic.
- Find your passion. Find the things you love, and do them. There is no right or wrong activity, so don't waste your time taking part in "what looks good on a resume". Do the things that interest you, both academically and personally, and get involved.
- Be honest. No, I am not talking about having someone else write your application essays or leaving out an arrest (these are serious no-brainers). What we mean is if you had a low grade in the sophomore year Biology or had in school suspension for excessive tardiness, don't avoid the issue and hope we overlook it. If we have to guess about what happened, we will probably think the worst. The best course is to explain what happened without excuses, and the steps you are taking to overcome the issue.
- Keep things in perspective. Getting accepted by your first choice college will not ensure a perfect future, and a denial will not ruin your life. Both applicants and colleges are looking for good matches, and the best situation comes about when both sides connect.