Illustration of a young person standing in front of a path with books and laptop and a graduation cap at the end.
Determining where you want to go to college could be the first step on your application journey. Illustrations by (c) Reset Fest Inc, Canada

The Re:Set Guide

The Re:Set Guide to Nailing Your College Applications

Stay on top of the paperwork with our handy spreadsheet.

Stressed out about applying for colleges? Amidst a global pandemic and all the current chaos in the world, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed by it. Some of the apprehension may arise from looking at the overwhelming amount of things to do during the process. Don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered! 

We spoke to Gelyna Price, former Stanford University admissions interviewer and admissions counselor at Empowerly, a college counseling service, about the crucial pieces of an application, starting with determining what kind of colleges you’d like to attend. Factors can include where the school is located, the quality of the program in the major you’re looking to apply to, the number of students at the school and research opportunities, Price said. 

You can also organize your college preferences in terms of “target, safety and reach” schools, she told Re:Set. Looking at a school’s middle 50% GPA and test scores of accepted students and comparing it with your grades and test scores should help you determine this, she added. A “safety school” would include institutions where your academic credentials like grades and test scores such as SAT and ACT exceed that of the average first-year student. For a target school, your credentials should fall well within the school’s average range for the most recently accepted class, recommends Princeton Review. While “reach schools” are long-shot applications where your academics could be on the lower end of or below the average that is accepted by the college. 

“Focus on your individual strengths, leadership positions, and accomplishments.”

Next, Price recommends building a professional resume. “Find a good resume template and start to add in your extracurricular experiences,” she told Re:Set. “Focus on your individual strengths, leadership positions, and accomplishments.” Different colleges may have different formats for resumes so it’s best to check for any modifications you’ll need to make before submitting. Some programs like art schools might also ask for a portfolio to get an understanding of your previous work. 

Simply put, colleges want to know who you are, what you’ve done, and what you’re interested in doing or intend to do. To help you put your best foot forward and stay on top of the application process, we’ve put together a quick guide. Seeing all the information laid out in front of you could give you insights into what your next steps should be and when you need to do it. Enter in the details and arrange it according to the deadlines so you don’t miss anything out. Good luck! 

Image of a college admission spreadsheet which has the heds - No, name of university, programs, Target/Safety/Reach, Submission Deadline, Transcripts, Statement of Intent, Number of Letters of Recommendations required, Admission Test Score

Also read: Applying to College? Here’s What You Need to Know About Including Extracurriculars Activities


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The Re:Set Guide to Nailing Your College Applications