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4 College Application Tips from a Former College Admission Officer

You may have seen the recent New York Times article that shared the type of advice that admission officers give to their children during the college application process. In this article are a lot of great college application tips, like:

  • Submit your application well before the deadline
  • Make sure your essay is in your voice, not your parents’ voices
  • Decide what’s important to you as a person and rank colleges using your interests as a guide

While I now guide students at Cheshire Academy’s through the College Counseling office, I previously worked in college admissions. As someone who once worked as a college admission officer, I have a few college application tips that I'd like to add:

  1. Visit! While I know this sounds obvious, you would be amazed at the number of college students who see their new school the day they move onto campus. How can you possibly know a college can be a good fit for you and your home for the next four years if you have never seen it in person. Visit schools before you apply and absolutely visit after you have been admitted. The school will definitely look different once the possibility of going there is real! Ask lots of questions, explore on your own and talk to people off of the tour, not just the admissions officers and the student ambassadors.
  2. Build a big list and do your research. Students should take the time in their sophomore and junior years to research schools. Be liberal with adding and deleting schools as you narrow down your list. You need to be realistic in your approach and talk to your school counselor about which colleges or universities are appropriate. Students should reach for schools.  You never know if you do not try, however, make sure to have a list of reliable targets as well.
  3. Show interest. In an age when students are applying to more and more colleges, they need to know you are interested in them and not just sending in application “to see what happens!”  When colleges send you emails and letters, respond!  It doesn’t take much to engage in the process. When the schools see you interacting with them, that shows them you are interested in possibility attending.  There is no greater way to show interest than by doing what I mentioned in number 1, visit!
  4. Check your email. Colleges are going to email, get used to it. You saying you never check your email is like giving up. Some colleges only send offers of admission electronically. If you are not checking your email, you’ll never know if you are admitted!  Check it often and respond to the colleges when they email you. If your high school doesn’t provide you an email address, create a clean and separate email just for your application process.  

At Cheshire Academy, we encourage students to work toward their college careers from the beginning of their time here. However, the above college application tips are great for juniors who are just starting the college application process.

Daniel Monahan

Written by Daniel Monahan

After a successful career in college admissions, Mr. Monahan joined Cheshire Academy in 2014 as the Associate Director of College Counseling. As a member of the college counseling staff, he is building on his extensive experiences in college admissions, having served two different colleges as their dean of admission. His expertise in the field of college admission helps to enable our students to find the right fit for them in their college search.

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