By Paula Ebben

BELMONT (CBS) – Applying for colleges can be a very stressful time. Just ask any student who has been through it. There are some simple slip-ups you can avoid to help make all that time and energy spent on applications more successful.

“Stress is a word that we hear a lot,” said Mia Kaldenbaugh of Belmont. Starting her freshman year at Colby College is a dream come true, but this time last year was a very different story.

“I felt like there were so many things out of my control.”

According to Casey Near, a counselor with Collegewise, there are some easy do’s and don’ts that are within your control and can make a big difference when applying to college.

Collegewise counselor Casey Near shares application tips with Mia Kaldenbaugh.

DO – Open emails from colleges that you are interested in.

Teenagers are notoriously bad at this and according to Near, colleges are paying attention. They don’t like to be ignored.

“I don’t love that this exists, but it’s part of my job to say that it does,” she said. Colleges also track how much time a student spends on their website.

DON’T – Forget to write in your own voice when crafting your essay.

“Kids forget that they are allowed to sound like themselves, so you should not be using ‘here to for’ and ‘plethora’ and all these fancy words in your application,” Near said.

The person reading the essay is often not much older than the kid applying to college, according to Near. “I always tell them, remember their tour guide that was walking backwards. That was a senior at your school. Two years from now that’s the admissions counselor reading your essay.”

DO – Consider adding a video component to your application.

Some schools will let you upload a video or attach a link, Near pointed out.

“Babson does an option where you can do a supplemental essay or you can add a video. That speaks to their entrepreneurial spirit,” she said.

DON’T – Leave out the interesting details about activities and sports.

“Kids often times just kind of [write] ‘do winter practice. Played in games.’ I know that about sports. What I don’t know is maybe you are the kid who always brought oranges or you cheered from the sidelines even though you never played in a game,” Near said.

Colleges also want to know if you would be a good roommate. “These are residential communities. They want to get a sense of what kind of friend you would be,” she added.

Mia’s advice as a new freshman? Don’t procrastinate and don’t worry, which she knows is easier said than done.

“You will come out and like, you will be ok,” she said.

Paula Ebben


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