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What do I need to focus on for college apps?

What are the most important aspects of a college application. My dream school is Stanford. What parts of my application should I focus on the most and is there any template or key words I can use?

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Mackenzie’s Answer

College applications are typically composed of various sections, including personal information, academic history, extracurricular activities, essays, and more. While there are no specific "key words" to use, you should focus on conveying your authentic self and highlighting your strengths, experiences, and aspirations. However, you can keep the following principles in mind when writing your college application:

Authenticity:
Be genuine and honest in your application. Admissions officers appreciate authenticity and the unique perspective you bring.

Specificity:
Provide specific examples and details to illustrate your accomplishments, experiences, and interests. Show, don't just tell.

Passion:
Emphasize your passions and what drives you. Admissions officers are interested in what you care about and how you pursue your interests.

Impact:
Highlight the impact you've had on your school, community, or extracurricular activities. Describe how you've made a positive difference.

Self-Reflection:
Share insights into your personal growth, challenges you've overcome, and what you've learned from your experiences.

Goals and Aspirations:
Discuss your academic and career goals and how the college you're applying to aligns with those goals.

Diversity and Inclusion:
If applicable, mention how you contribute to diversity and inclusion on campus or how you appreciate diverse perspectives.

Leadership and Collaboration:
Describe instances where you've demonstrated leadership, teamwork, and collaboration skills.

Future Contribution:
Explain how you plan to contribute to the college community, whether through clubs, organizations, research, or community service.

Writing Quality:
Pay attention to grammar, spelling, and writing style. Well-crafted essays demonstrate your communication skills.

Voice and Tone:
Develop a unique voice and tone that reflect your personality while maintaining professionalism.

Adaptability and Resilience:
Share stories that demonstrate your ability to adapt to challenges and persevere.

Passion for Learning:
Express your curiosity and eagerness to continue learning and growing in college.

Connection to the College:
Explain why you're interested in that specific college. Mention specific programs, faculty, or aspects of the campus culture that resonate with you.

Recommendations:
Encourage your teachers, mentors, or counselors who are writing your recommendation letters to use descriptive language that highlights your strengths and character.

Remember that every college is looking for students who will contribute positively to their community and thrive academically. Tailor your application to each school's specific requirements and values. Review the application instructions carefully, proofread your essays, and seek feedback from teachers, mentors, or family members to ensure your application represents your best self.
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Rian’s Answer

Hi Emma!
It's so great that you want to attend Stanford! One thing that I could recommend to you would be to participate in some form of academic research. While it may be difficult to get, research is a great opportunity for you to showcase your critical thinking and reasoning skills in a real world environment. Opportunities such as that are rare and would help you stand out in your application!
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Alan’s Answer

Emma, as for "important aspects," the foundations you'll need include high quality writing ability, solid organizational and time management skills, understanding research methodology (including how to do proper citations and what constitutes a credible source), and effective and prolific reading.

As for your application, I'm not a great believer in templates or key words. You should write your essay honestly and from the heart. Communicate the experiences, values and life lessons that have shaped you and made you a desirable candidate to contribute to their college community. Make the essay enjoyable, for yourself and the reader. Make it uniquely you.
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Hany’s Answer

15 Expert Tips to Shine in Your College Application
1. Select Your High School Subjects Wisely.
2. Aim for High Grades.
3. Use Your Personal Statement as a Platform to Share Your Journey.
4. Engage in After-School Activities.
5. Contribute to Your Community through Volunteering.
6. Prioritize Your Standardized Tests.
7. Monitor Your Social Media Behavior.
For more details, visit: https://www.quadeducationgroup.com/blog/how-to-stand-out-in-college-applications
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Emma !

When applying to colleges it is very important that you focus on every part of the application, especially for Stanford since they have a very slim acceptance rate. Deadlines for applications are of major importance, too.

Stanford's requirements are the common application and the application fee, SAT or ACT scores, a school report form and recommendation from a school counselor, Official transcripts, Letters of recommendation from two teachers, and Mid-year Transcripts. If you plan to be studying the Arts, you will submit an artist portfolio. There are many intricate details about applying that can be found at their website and every requirement should be focused on diligently as every part of the application is crucial to them in deciding whether you are accepted. Their application to apply is on line at their website.

Their application includes an essay as well as some short essay questions that will introduce you to them.

Never rush over your application and remember that each part of it will be evaluated so it must be complete, clear, well-written and interesting to the admission staff.
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Jacob’s Answer

When applying to colleges, especially highly competitive ones like Stanford, it's crucial to craft a well-rounded application that highlights your strengths and showcases your unique qualities. Here are the key aspects of a college application to focus on:

1. **Academic Achievement**: Maintain a strong academic record with high grades and challenging coursework. Colleges often consider your GPA, class rank, and standardized test scores (SAT or ACT).

2. **Extracurricular Activities**: Participate in extracurricular activities that genuinely interest you and demonstrate your leadership, dedication, and commitment. Quality is more important than quantity.

3. **Essays**: Spend time crafting compelling and authentic personal essays. These should reflect your values, experiences, and aspirations. Showcase your passion and the qualities that make you stand out.

4. **Letters of Recommendation**: Choose recommenders who know you well and can speak to your character, work ethic, and potential. They should be able to provide specific examples of your achievements and contributions.

5. **Test Scores**: Prepare for and take standardized tests seriously. Some schools have test-optional policies, but if you choose to submit scores, aim for strong results.

6. **Experiences and Achievements**: Highlight significant accomplishments, awards, or honors in your application. This could include academic achievements, research projects, or community involvement.

7. **Diversity and Inclusion**: Emphasize your diverse experiences and perspectives, as colleges value a diverse student body. Showcase how your background contributes to the campus community.

8. **Passion and Interests**: Show enthusiasm for your chosen field of study and extracurricular pursuits. Explain why you're drawn to Stanford and how their programs align with your goals.

9. **Community Involvement**: Detail your involvement in community service and volunteering. Highlight the impact you've had on others and your dedication to making a positive difference.

10. **Interviews**: If offered an interview, prepare thoroughly. Be genuine, articulate, and show enthusiasm for the school. Research Stanford's programs and values to discuss them during the interview.

11. **Portfolio (if applicable)**: If you have a portfolio (e.g., for art or design programs), ensure it showcases your best work and aligns with the program's requirements.

12. **Demonstrated Interest**: Attend college fairs, information sessions, and engage with the school's representatives. Demonstrating your genuine interest can strengthen your application.

There's no specific template or set of keywords that guarantees admission. What matters most is authenticity. Admissions committees look for students who are passionate, dedicated, and have the potential to contribute to the campus community. Tailor your application to Stanford's values and mission, but be yourself throughout the process.

Remember that admission to highly competitive schools is unpredictable, and many qualified applicants are not accepted. Apply to a mix of schools, including reach, match, and safety schools, to ensure you have options. Most importantly, focus on your personal growth and development throughout the application process, as it's an opportunity to reflect on your goals and aspirations.
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