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5 Things to Know When Applying to College



By Levi Elarton: Levi is the Director of Admissions and adjunct faculty at Northpoint College.


It's the moment you have been waiting for. You have scoured college websites, checked their social media, and are ready to see if your dreams can become reality.


My name is Levi Elarton, and I am the Director of Admissions at Northpoint College; not only do I help those students who are ready to apply to school, but I too have applied to multiple Colleges and Universities for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees. With so many things to consider before applying to school, I want to share five things I've learned about applying to and choosing a college that I hope will be helpful on your journey.


1.     Visit the College

In 2017, a massive music festival was being promoted in the Bahamas called the Fyre Festival. People paid thousands of dollars for tickets and flights because they did not want to miss out on what was billed as the greatest festival of all time! However, the promoters, who were great at promotion, could not deliver what they had promised. The festival was a disaster, and many people found themselves deserted on the island with barely any food or shelter. That said, I would encourage you to investigate the schools you are drawn to as much as possible. Visit their website, contact alums, ask them questions, and, most importantly, schedule a college visit. A college visit is one of the best ways to see if a place is what it says.

 

2.     Ask Questions

One of my favorite things about my job is when applicants ask questions. It means an applicant truly cares about their next steps, even when it can be intimidating to ask an admissions Director or Counselor questions. Perhaps you feel the question is dumb, or you aren't allowed to ask, but I would encourage you to go for it! No question should ever be off the table. When a college cares about students finding the right fit for their preparation, they aren't afraid to answer tough, direct questions. So, ask away; we can take it!

 

3.     Be Yourself

One of my favorite quotes reads, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” When you decide to start an application, do not be afraid to be yourself. Sometimes, students want to take on a different persona or change their personality to get through the process. I would discourage this strategy. Schools want to see if you are a good fit for the institution. Being someone you aren't makes this process more difficult, and being you certainly look better on yourself!

 

4.     Choose Solid References

The reference portions are one of the most essential pieces of the application process. Many schools require either one or two references from non-family members. Whether it is an employer, educator, or whomever, you want to select people who can represent you well. I've noticed, at times, a reference by a person who is well known in the community, yet when they refer to the applicant, it almost feels that they hardly know them. You should choose someone who knows you better than just an average person in the crowd and can represent you well. This gives the institution a more accurate look into who you are and will benefit the application process.

 

5.     Get Ahead

I admit that I can quickly procrastinate if I am not careful. It can be easy to see a due date far off in the distance and think I have so much time. However, it always creeps up and makes my life miserable. You will most likely take some time to finish your application. And that is okay! Do not be afraid to be organized and take your time. However, I would encourage you to start the application sooner rather than later. Many schools provide times when you can apply without a fee, and you should take advantage of that. Applications do not lock you into attending, so if you can apply for free, I would highly recommend it!

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