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Tips for preparing university applications

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Some advice on how to apply to universities

How to apply to universities is not a mystery, but it is a skill. With hundreds of applicants each year, the prospective student with the best application package is going to get the acceptance letter. To make sure you are one of those receiving the fat envelope rather than the thin one with the rejection letter, read on.


Years ago, the only way to get your college degree was to sit in a classroom. This is still a choice for many students, but there are other options. Affordable online degrees are available for a variety of subjects and industries.


Do your research. You should choose a university that is accredited by one of the major accrediting institutions designated by the U.S. Secretary of Education. While the U.S. Department of Education does not accredit colleges and post-secondary institutions, they do publish a database of accredited schools. Brown College’s Visual and Communications Programs is an example of a program with accreditation by one such agency, the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). This basically gives a stamp of approval to the courses and degrees of study offered at this school. By seeking accreditation, a college is following a code of ethics that ensures the degree holder will be fully qualified to work in their chosen field after earning their degree at the institution.



Choose your major. Finding a college major can be a daunting task for many prospective students. Many colleges and universities offer personality and career tests that allow students to figure out where their talents and abilities lie. By taking one of these tests, such as the Meyers Briggs Test, prospective students can figure out the careers and fields that are best suited to them by learning about their personality types. Many people find these tests useful in guiding them toward a career path that they will find fulfilling and enjoyable.


Choose your schools. After choosing a major, pick several schools that interest you. You should always apply to more than one college or university in case you do not get into your first choice. Most people choose a “safe school,” or the one to which they will definitely be accepted. Common practice is to choose at least three to five schools as long as the application fees are not prohibitive.


Apply. Many schools require items such as SAT scores from high school, proof of graduation, and transcripts from any previous college courses you have taken, especially if you are applying for a Masters degree. They need to know that you have completed requirements necessary to succeed in their programs. Colleges to which you are applying frequently require a sealed copy of your transcripts or diplomas to be sent directly from the previous school to the applicant school. Again, this is to ensure authenticity. If  a student applies under fraudulent circumstances, they can be fired from any future jobs earned due to that degree. To obtain your diploma or transcript, the best advice is to call your high school or college first. Since they are always being asked for these items, they always have standard procedures they follow for this purpose.


The SAT’s (Standard Assessment Test) are taken by juniors and seniors in high school to assess the student’s readiness for college. If you have yet to take your SAT, you can use a service such as Grockit Test Prep  where you can prepare for a variety of tests, get help from a tutor and see how you compare to other students. Some college and universities may ask for the ACT  (American College Testing), a test that addresses specific subject areas. Most colleges and universities, however, use the SAT as the standard test for incoming students. You can learn more about the SAT by visiting the College Board’s website.


After you have obtained all of your paperwork and filled out the application, you wait. The schools that have accepted you into their programs will contact you via U.S. mail. They use regular mail because they need to send additional forms that will have to be completed such as medical forms if you are attending a school in person or information on how to connect via the internet. With that being said, many online schools are happy to save a few trees and contact you via email or telephone. It varies according to the school.


Preparing university applications is a process that is easy to get the hang of once you start. Take your time, follow directions and you will find yourself heading toward a better future and better earning power with a college degree.

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