Application Advice from our Year 13s

Andrew Yang & Alex Quach:

1. Apply to more schools than you think you need. Application difficulty changes from year to year, and you must have a range of schools to ensure that you get into at least one of them.
2. Filling out application forms takes more time than you think. Writing university application letters do take time, however, do not underestimate the amount of time it takes to fill out the forms. Never leave filling out the forms until the last minute.
3. Do your TOEFL and ACT EARLY if needed. It gives you opportunities to redo the test if you are not satisfied with your scores.
4. Always consult your university advisor!  Mr. Gartz is skilled in helping you improve your essays tremendously. Always seek his advice and review. It’s also helpful to review your essay with an English teacher.
5. Not all schools notify admission status by email! Always remember to log in to your application page and check your progress. Make sure that you take note of your status before the deadline for acceptance rolls by.
6. Carefully review admission requirements and if applicable, differences between campuses. Before submitting your application, make sure you are eligible for consideration for the school you are applying to. Furthermore, facilities and teaching quality at different campuses differ.

Some tips from my experience applying to U.S. universities

Anna Xie:

Applying to university is – let’s face it – pretty aggressively un-fun, especially if you are applying to the U.S., which generally requires much more writing and in-depth analysis of what makes you unique as a degree-seeking, soon-to-be high school graduate than schools in most other countries. Aside from your main application essay, most U.S. universities require you to write essays on topics ranging from “Why do you want to attend this school?” to “Tell us about a peer who has made a difference in your life.” Having gone through this process, I have a few hopefully helpful suggestions for anyone beginning to go through it themselves.

  1. Give yourself ample time to write and revise all of those aforementioned essays – don’t underestimate their value or the amount of time it will take. For “Why this school?” questions, try to bring up something unique to each school’s program or mission; it’ll prove you didn’t just copy-paste your answer.
  2. To this end, try to have the list of schools you’re applying to finalized as soon as possible, and make sure there’s at least one ‘safe’ school that you’d actually want to attend on there.
  3. Read extensively about the schools you’re interested in, using as many different resources as possible. Really try to get a sense of what the school values, what its strengths and weaknesses as an institution are, what current and former students think of it, and how well you personally would fit in there. Not only will this help you decide whether applying there is worth the 50-80 dollars and valuable time it would cost, but if you do decide to apply, it will give you things to write about in your application essays that will show the admissions team that you’re thorough and interested in attending.
  4. Check and recheck deadlines for everything, and don’t rely on external websites to accurately provide those deadlines for you. I almost missed a financial aid deadline for a school because Collegeboard’s website had recorded it incorrectly. Make a spreadsheet or something.
  5. If it’s feasible to schedule a tour and/or an interview (in person or online), do it. If not, you can sometimes ask the admissions office to be put in contact with an alumni or a current student to ask them questions and get a sense of what life is like at the school.
  6. Find your Counselor, get their sage advice – as someone who knows you, they can offer you much more personalized and professional assistance than this newspaper article anyway.

Cindy Liu:

  • A lot of universities will put you in contact with an alumni or a student if you email the admission office, so you can chat with them and find out more about whether it will be a good fit for you.
  • Make sure you use the school website to check deadlines because external websites may be helpful in finding out other information but they often have incorrect deadlines.
  • Don’t procrastinate but don’t panic.
  • Once you’ve chosen the schools, think clearly why you want to go to this school. Give specific reasons. This will help you with interviews if you have them or showing your parents your engagement.
  • Talk to your family about what is important to them in choosing universities.

Florencia Darino: 

–      Keep track of deadlines, write them all out.

–       Finish your university list early! Don’t leave it to the last minute.

–       Talk to your parents about your university choices since they are the ones who will pay the fee.

–       Research whether the university provides job opportunities within or outside of the school.

–       Don’t be scared of emailing the admissions office. Ask questions!

–       Get a strong start on your Extended Essay in Year 12

–       Finish your CAS project in year 12.

Zhiyu Dou and Tiffany Wang:

1) Finish SAT and College Entrance Tests in Year 12