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Admissions officers look for coherence (and proper grammar)

By Jenna Johnson
Jenna Johnson

Today's guest blogger Barbara Maryak, the acting dean of admissions at Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass.

Getting ready to send out a pile of college applications? Here are three tips to help:

BarbaraMaryak.jpgBe yourself
Do not try to second guess the admissions office by telling them things you think they want to hear. Just tell them who you are, what you like to do, what you love to read, what kind of student you've been -- honestly -- and why you would like to study at their school.

Be sure your application is coherent
Make sure that there is a logical relationship of the parts of your application. For example, don't indicate that you want to pursue a pre-med program if you have C's in your science courses, your reading lacks anything scientific, medical or health related, your extra curricular activities demonstrate little or no connection to your stated interests, and you do not have one recommendation supporting your choice of study. Along with this, be certain the school has the program you say you want.

Re-read your application before submitting it.
It's a good idea to read it out loud to someone. AND check your grammar and spelling. Do not rely on spell check. Do not use profanities or relate off-color stories. Avoid arrogance and self-righteousness.

Campus Overload is a daily must-read for all college students. Make sure to bookmark http://washingtonpost.com/campus-overload. You can also follow me on Twitter and fan Campus Overload on Facebook.

By Jenna Johnson  | November 4, 2010; 5:20 PM ET
Categories:  Admissions  | Tags:  Hampshire College  
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Comments

As a college consultant, I think you have offered some good last minute advice for college-bound seniors to keep in mind. Many do not realize how important their college applications are. Too often they are in a hurry to submit and then think of something that would have improved the applications and it is too late. Proofreading is essential.

Posted by: collegedirection | November 5, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

I find it a "key" to understand the English language and hold you with some dignity. I have to say if an admitting student came into my office, with his pants around his knees or his shirt not tucked in. I would frankly find a disrespect not only to myself but to the educational standards of the school I was honoring at the time. What is with children of these new times when they lose all respect for themselves and even just the educational system at that?

Posted by: leacade | November 7, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I think these tips are an excellent tool especially for high school students who are applying for college. At a young age they don't see how important and what a lasting affect an application can have on them. I would also recommend having aplications proofread by someone before the final submition. These tips seem so simple, but are too often overlooked.

Posted by: jesslane30 | November 7, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

These are all great tips for filling out applications, especially for seniors who are applying for college. Some high schools teach the students about the application process, but many don’t point out these tips which can sometimes be the deciding factor of whether a college accepts the applicant or not.

Posted by: richardsm2 | November 8, 2010 12:36 AM | Report abuse

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