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Common Sense College Application Tips, Part II

school notebooks and textbooks resting on a concrete bench accompanied by a coffee

College applications online forums can be useful to a certain extent, but you should exercise caution and moderation. You may be familiar with the r/a2c subreddit, the r/chanceme subreddit, or College Confidential. Of these three, I only found the first useful.

(Visit Common Sense College Application Tips Part I if you missed it!)

Application Forums

I recommend staying away from the r/chanceme subreddit because it is a breeding ground for excessive comparison.

College Confidential is a website that I didn’t find very helpful in terms of its blogging side. There are other functions to the site, but I don’t have much experience with them.

I do not recommend spending time on the forums in College Confidential. If you do go to that site, you may find some of their checklists useful about what you should do in junior and senior year to prep for college applications. If you read the forums, stick to content written by admissions officers or other professionals.

This is not to say that r/a2c is a treasure trove of useful information that has no negativity whatsoever. It also can harbor toxicity at times.

However, like with any online forum, once you learn to navigate it and set boundaries, it’s a generally useful experience. There are a couple of verified college admissions consultants (for example, u/AdmissionsMom) and former admissions officers that post useful information/advice.

They also do free personal statement or personal essay reviews.

The college application process involves a copious number of acronyms, and steps you can take to improve your application. Here is the r/a2c wiki, which contains a wealth of useful information, resources, and strategies for college applications (and some for high school in general).

Writing

Speaking of writing, you’ll run into supplemental essay questions for many schools you’re applying to. Most schools have a “why school” and “why major” prompt, and College Essay Guy has a few useful articles on this topic.

The College Essay Guy website has school-specific suggestions and examples for supplemental essays as well as personal statement guides. The site has paid services that are well-reviewed as well, many of which you can get for free if you qualify for their Matchlighters program (a free college application coaching service).

Another resource I highly recommend if you are encountering writer’s block is Squibler,

“The Most Dangerous Writing App”. If you stop writing after you start, it will delete your writing – temporarily. You won’t be able to write on your current screen anymore, but you can export a document of what you wrote in that session.

I found it useful because the immediate threat of losing progress motivated me to continue writing, but the consequences weren’t permanent. It gamifies the process.

Amrita Arora

Junior at Jefferson County Int'l Baccalaureate.

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