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College experts Gen and Kelly Tanabe, who speak regularly at high schools and are the award-winning authors of Get Into Any College and Accepted! 50 Successful College Admission Essays, have advice for high-school students preparing their college applications.
  • Form an application assembly line. Since you have limited time, it's critical to be efficient. Spread out all of your applications for the colleges and group together the common pieces. For example, almost all colleges have a page where you need to list your grades, test scores and extracurricular activities. Most colleges ask for your honors and awards as well as require admission essays. By focusing on completing each group of papers together, you'll save yourself a lot of time by not having to repeatedly look for the same information.

  • Don't skip proofreading. With deadlines looming it can be easy to skip proofreading your application. Yet, careless mistakes that range from simple errors in grammar to actually misspelling the name of the college detract from an otherwise strong application. An even better idea is to have someone else look at your application.

  • Recycling is not only for aluminum cans. Since each college requires one to three essays, you can save yourself a lot of time by recycling some of your essays. By editing the introduction and conclusion you can change the focus of your essay so that it can answer another college's question. While recycling is a good idea, it is very important to have someone else read your essay to make sure that it actually answers the question.

  • Put Mom or Dad to work. Mom or Dad can be a real help if you use their talents wisely. While you may keep your schedule in your head, Mom probably writes hers down. Use your parents' superior organizational skills to make sure you don't miss any deadlines. Also, have Mom or Dad do a final check to make sure that you aren't missing any critical forms in your application. Forgetting something as innocent as your transcript can cause unnecessary delays.

  • Don't panic and pay for overnight delivery. As long as your application is postmarked by the deadline, you can save money and mail it by the good old-fashioned USPS.
For other tips on all aspects of the college admissions process, visit the Web site - - that the Tanabes have created.


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