EDISON, NJ - The college application season has begun! Most families probably think you need to wait until September to start applying for college, but the Common Application opened on August 1st. According to the Common Application, over 500 schools in the United States now accept it. As a result, more students apply to an increasing number of schools, simply because it is easier to do so than in the past. As a result though, admissions rates have also grown to be more competitive as the amount of applicants increase and available spots remain mostly stagnant in comparison.

As students and their families get ready to embark on what well may be one of the more stressful and busy times of their lives, there are a few key things to remember to help make the process a little more efficient and effective.

1. Apply to Schools You Are Genuinely Interested in Attending

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As a high school senior, chances are you have the most demanding course load ever. In addition to school and activities that are normally working on, you will also need to apply for colleges. Most counselors and consultants will recommend that student apply to approximately six to eight schools, with a max of ten. The first reason is, your time is limited and the more schools you apply to, the more time it will require. Therefore, you should only apply to schools you really would want to attend if accepted.

2. Select a Balanced List of Schools

While it is great to be hopeful and optimistic when it comes to selecting the schools you apply to, it is also important to be realistic, so that you aren’t disappointed in the outcome potentially. It is recommended that students select two schools in which they have a high chance of being accepted at, three schools that you have a 50/50 chance of being accepted, and lastly two or three schools in which you may have lower odds of being accepted or schools that have extremely low acceptance rates. To determine what your odds are, take advantage of free resources in which you can compare your chances against the average incoming class, such as the Applying tab of a school’s profile on College Board’s Big Future.

3. Start Early

Whether it be asking for letters of recommendation or working on your application essays, the trick is to start early. Some teachers may have a cap on how many recommendations they write and if there’s a teacher you really want to write yours, then you want to ask them early so that you have the best opportunity at achieving one. In general, it is also more considerate to give them as much time as possible to write it as well. Depending on the schools you apply to and how many schools you apply to, you could end up having more than ten essays to write, especially when some schools request two to four supplemental essays. Those who start early have more time to manage everything that is on their plate and as a result also have less stress.

The last thing to remember is to have fun and take breaks! Be yourself throughout the process. Remember, you are the one that has to go attend college for four years, so its important that you like it. The process of applying to college is an important time of self-discovery in your life. You may encounter questions that have never been asked before.  Don’t try to be someone you’re not for the sake of being accepted. Remember, the school that values you for who you are is where you want to be.

To learn more about how Elite Advantage Prep College Admissions Consultants can help your student achieve their ultimate potential for college, sign up for a free consultation at www.eliteadvantageprep.com.