5 Tips And Tricks For The College Application Process

by Aubrey Lusignan, Staff Writer

via gocollege.com

Applying to college can be an extremely stressful process. On top of juggling AP courses, sports, extracurricular activities, and some form of a social life, applying to college is just one more task on what seems to be a never ending to do list. But, the college application process is extremely important because you’ll likely go through it once. Although, as a junior in college, I’m starting to think about applying to graduate school, so I am in a similar position that I was in 3 years ago. It would have been helpful if someone had given me some extra guidance when I was a hopeful and nervous high school student. Here are my five suggestions as you navigate the college application process.

1. Don’t Limit Yourself

One thing I regret about my college application process is that I didn’t apply to as many colleges as I could have. I found myself applying to schools that I had no interest in just for the sake of having a ‘safety’ school. It’s extremely important to give yourself options, apply to a couple ‘reach schools,’ as well as schools you think you have a good shot of getting into. Now is the time to take chances and a gamble on your future; if you don’t seize an opportunity, you’ll never know the outcome. Some of my best experiences in college so far have been a result of putting myself out there and applying to internships, clubs, and classes that seemed a little out of my league. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. Know you’re limits, but push your boundaries. After you finish the Common App, be more excited than nervous and feel confidant in your college choices.

2. But Don’t Go Overboard

There’s nothing like hearing the class valedictorian or the boy who sits diagonal from you in Spanish AP announce, “I’ve applied to 16 different colleges, and I’m considering applying to more.” I assure you there is no award, certification, or extra credit points for spending thousands of dollars on college application fees. I also assure you that adding that one extra application to some college in the Midwest that has nice school colors or a cool library will not affect your future. I recommend applying to six to ten schools that you’re really interested in, that have majors and minors that you could see yourself pursuing, and that have a student body and campus that you could see yourself feeling comfortable with and connected to. Don’t apply to your state school if you have no interest in it and don’t apply to a school for the name or prestige when you see yourself being miserable there. College is a time to explore your passions, make connections, and attain an education that will imprint your life beyond the classroom and hopefully shape you into a decent human being. Apply to universities that share the same vision of your future that you do, that being said. one size does not fit all.

3. Go On College Tours

tourPerhaps you’ve loved the idea of one college or university ever since you could remember. You have five different sweatshirts proudly displaying the college’s name, maybe you’ve watched their football team with your dad, and gushed over the college’s prestige. But, you’ve never set foot on the university’s campus and in your head that doesn’t seem like a big deal. I urge you to visit as many of the colleges that you apply to. Check out the dorms, the dining halls, and the playing fields. Look at the gym, the classrooms, and the modes of transportation within and around the campus. Visiting a college’s campus can make a huge difference in the application process. Maybe the school that has that obscure major that you’re interested in has jail cell-like dorm rooms, cut throat students, and lecture halls that make you want to fall asleep in rather than being inspired. You can learn a lot about a school from a tour and your tour guide. I also recommend visiting a college when the student body is present. You can observe actual college students in action and get a better feel for the university. It will help you imagine if you could see yourself in a current student’s shoes or if you should cross the university off your application list.

4. Ask Questions

question memeAttending college tours can be awkward. You have to get in a car, on a train, or plane with your embarrassing parents to explore an unfamiliar place that you may spend the next four years of your life at. Arriving at a university can be overwhelming—you have to quickly locate the school’s information center and then get in a group of other nervous students (who, to mention, are your competition for the university’s admittance spots) and zig zag across the campus trying to listen to everything the tour guide shouts to the whole group. As much as parents can be annoying or embarrassing, they do one think right at college tours that students tend to avoid—they ask questions. I can understand that a tour guide can be intimidating or the idea of an exchange with strangers is something you haven’t had too much practice with, but don’t be afraid to speak up and find out what a school is all about. Ask the guide or maybe another student, advisor, or professor what their favorite parts of the university are. Ask what are some of the college’s traditions? What is the university’s motto? What’s student life like on the weekend? Most importantly, ask yourself, “Will I be comfortable at this school and can I see myself thriving here?” In college you have to advocate for yourself in unfamiliar settings, without the help of your parents, so start to practice using your voice. There is no dumb question in the college application process.

5. Take Care of Yourself

keep calm

While applying to college can be overwhelming and time consuming, it’s so important that you take care of yourself throughout the whole process. Get rest, exercise, and sunlight. Treat yourself the way you’d want your best friend to treat him or herself. You may feel compelled to pull an all-nighter studying for AP Chemistry and crafting the perfect college essay, but it’s not worth it. It’s proven that two hours of concentrated work with breaks in between is most effective for your brain and memory. You have to rest your mind to retain all that super awesome knowledge you strive so hard to learn. College is around the corner— keep your mind and body in one piece and best of luck on your college applications!



Surviving The Wilderness Of College

By Laura McGuire, Staff Writer

College campus

College is … weird. You are thrown to the wolves by your loving, caring family and you are expected to figure out who you are, what you want to do with your life, how to juggle a bunch of new work AND maintain a respectable GPA on top of it all. Sounds about as appealing as a Chipotle burrito without any rice (I’ve had one, believe me, it’s awful). If you’re anything like me—painfully awkward and shy with a weird sense of humor—you know that it takes a while to warm up to people and to assert yourself into different friend groups.

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On The Cusp Of A Movement

Nxtfour is thrilled to announce our latest site development. Users can now take the content they have uploaded onto their Nxtfour profile and generate an automated resume that will display your photos, videos, and text descriptions in a professional format that can be printed or attached to a digital application. It’s quick, simple, yet an innovative way to showcase your talents and achievements to employers and colleges. There’s a movement in the higher education application process that’s gaining ground. It’s one that’s wiling to look at students more holistically, more genuinely, beyond test scores and transcripts.

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Michael Petronaci Joins Team As CTO

Nxtfour is excited to announce its newest team member, Michael Petronaci, who will join the Nxtfour team as CTO. Michael has worked as a Program Manager at Akamai Technologies as well as serving as an advisor to Select Electronics Corporation and Wordinaire. Michael has been a great addition to the Nxtfour team. Aside from his developing experience, Michael brings enthusiasm and several ideas for the future of Nxtfour to the table. Michael will lead the development of nxtfour.com, as Nxtfour begins to onboard high schools and students this fall.

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UNC-Chapel Hill

By Alec, Contributor (Class of 2015)


School Name: UNC Chapel Hill

Location: Chapel Hill, NC

Enrollment: 29,127

Tuition: In-state: $8,340 Out-of-state: $30,122

What are the academics like at your school?

Very challenging. The students take their work very seriously and are committed to their studies. However, they do not take themselves too seriously and know that life is more than grades.

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University of Florida

By Ria Sanghvi, Contributor (Class of 2017)


School Name: University of Florida

Location: Gainesville, FL

Enrollment: 51,725

Tuition: In-state: $20,550 Out-of-state: $37,944

What are the academics like at your school?

The academics are very vigorous especially for those with science majors. As a research university the science department has a standard of it’s own, not to take away from the other departments which are also very challenging.

What is the Greek scene/nightlife like?

Greek life is a very big part of UF, I’m not Greek and don’t feel left out whatsoever but there are quite a few students who are actively involved in Greek life. They definitely seem to dominate high ranking positions in student government and other such organizations.

Describe the housing options at your school?

There are traditional dorms, two to a room with a communal bathroom. There are apartment style options or suites which are two to a room, with a shared bathroom with another room. There also traditional single double and triple rooms. Most students tend to go off campus after freshman year though.

What do students complain about most?

How difficult some courses are or the limited number of chances to do well. How Greek dominated some organizations are. Parking!

Describe the students at your school.

The diversity at UF is so vast there are everything from religious organizations to acrobatics clubs. There really is a place for everyone.

What are dining options on campus and off campus?

There are two main dining halls and a food court on campus. There are also subways, Starbucks and mini convenient stores throughout campus. Not even five minutes from campus in any direction there are tons of restaurants to choose from everything from fast food to five stars.

What is your overall opinion of your school?

I love UF and everything it stands for, I truly believe that there is a place for everyone and something for everyone to be part of. It’s a great place to grow and figure out who you are and what you want to do in life.

Rhode Island School of Design


School Name: Rhode Island School of Design

Location: Providence, RI

Enrollment: 2,005 Undergrad

Tuition: $44,284

Class of: 2014

What are the academics like at your school?

When I entered as a freshman RISD was ranked as having the highest workload in the country among colleges followed by MIT. Classes are eight hours and homework usually limits sleep to a few hours a night but it is all more than worth it and the nature of what the work is makes it never feel much like work. Most everything will be done in studio or in groups so academic and social life are pretty intertwined. 

What is the Greek scene/nightlife like?

We don’t have one. It’s not that kind of place. Brown has a few and our campuses/ social scenes overlap. I think someone tried to start a frat a few yers ago as a joke.

Describe the housing options at your school?

You are required to live on campus until sophomore year. Housing is hit and miss. Most people move off campus. Providence has a massive college population and I do apartments isn’t difficult or too expensive.

What do students complain about most?

I haven’t known many people to complain about general things about RISD 

Describe the students at your school.

Mixed like anyplace else. Everyone here seems to be intelligent and most are pretty unique. There are a lot of international students. The schools majors decide into fine arts and design. There’s a nice range from totally weird and artsy in the best way to beautifully typical people. It’s a small school so you et to know just about everyone at least in your year.

What are dining options on campus and off campus?

Fresan year is unlimited. Vegan friendly, lots of healthy options, we have a main dining hall a second Cafeteria a sandwich shop and a coffee shop/cafe. Providence has lots of places to eat and is pretty well known for what it offers on the culinary side of things.

What is your overall opinion of your school?

Amazing and a great opportunity. A great community.