6 College Application Tips

Mary Connell

Are you ready to start your college applications? Here are some tips from our admissions counselors to help you prepare.

1. Familiarize yourself with important dates, details, and deadlines.

Once you narrow down the list of schools you’re going to apply to, keep track of their application dates and deadlines. If spreadsheets are your thing—go wild! But if not, try to find a method that will allow you to stay on top of application requirements and deadlines.

Mercer’s application opens August 1,

our non-binding Early Action deadline is November 1,

our Priority Scholarship deadline is February 1,

and our Regular Decision deadline is April 1.

2. Be honest and creative with your essay.

Don’t just list your extracurricular involvement in the form of an essay. The essay is your opportunity to dive deeper and give us more insight into who you are. If you want to talk about your involvement, pick one activity and talk about why it’s so important to you. Or take this chance to tell the admissions committee something about yourself that the rest of your application doesn’t show.

3. Remember to submit your materials.

Colleges need all your application materials to give you an admission decision, so staying organized will help make sure you don’t miss anything. For first-year students applying to Mercer, we need four things:

  1. Your application (Mercer App or The Common App)
  2. High school transcript(s)
  3. Official standardized test scores (Optional)
  4. At least one letter of recommendation

4. Share your test scores*

Mercer is Test Optional, which means you don’t have to submit ACT or SAT scores to be considered for admission. If you choose to submit test scores, remember to send us all of your test scores because we super score. Super scoring allows us to look at your section scores from multiple sittings and give you the best overall composite, which works to your benefit when we’re making admission and scholarship decisions.

5. Be thoughtful about your letter of recommendation.

Your letter of recommendation should come from someone in your life who knows you well—and is not related to you. This letter gives the admissions committee a view of your characteristics and accomplishments from a different perspective. Just remember to be respectful of your recommender and give them 2-3 weeks’ notice so they have plenty of time to write a glowing recommendation.

6. Ask questions and use your resources.

There are so many people around you who want to help you through the college admissions process. Don’t be afraid to let them. Reach out to your school counselor, a family member, or your admissions counselor when you need help. They’re all partners in this journey with you.

Ready to get started? Apply today.

2 thoughts on “6 College Application Tips

  1. I like how you mentioned that when you narrow down what schools you want to do to then you should keep track of the application dates for each of them. My sister is considering looking for a college admissions counselor for her daughter because she told my sister last week that she wants to further her education. I think it’s a good investment to hire a reputable professional that can help keep track of specific dates to turn in an application for a program that she wants to attend.

  2. Great and concise article! This will be super useful for high school students going through the application process. I especially liked your point about being thoughtful about who a student chooses as a recommender. This is a point I make sure to drill into my students when they are thinking about a teacher to ask. Actually, I recently built a site to help students understand and organize the college search and application process. As an admissions counselor, I would love your feedback on it. https://www.froshbite.com/. Again, very helpful article.

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