The Student News Site of Taipei American School




What I wish I knew before applying to college


By Phoebe C. (‘21)

As each TAS student enters their senior year, they also enter the final stage of their college application process: writing essays and, finally, submitting applications.

Ideally, college applications capture the essence of an individual, and advertise the most appealing aspects of them to colleges and universities. So, it goes without saying

that any TAS student’s journey towards making their dream college would inevitably involve a stellar application, which ultimately pegs the question: how does one create the

most impressive and effective application possible? As a senior who has submitted the first round of her applications, I have picked up several tips and tricks along the way while

researching universities and writing college essays. From one college applicant to many others, here are a few essential tips for submitting college applications:

Start Writing Early

A life-saving tip that will free students from drowning in work during their first semester of senior year would be starting the college application writing process no later than the summer before senior year. For however long you expect yourself to take to finish your essays, double that time if you are expecting to send a college application that is nothing less than perfection to colleges. Although it may sound silly and exaggerated to begin months before you are required to, the reality is that students often overlook the writing process. Before they can even type out a draft, they have to consider the topic and even writing structure they would like to employ. Moreover, most of the time, myself included, students find themselves writing multiple essays before honing in on the right one. “Write during the summer. Honestly, that’s all you need,” college applicant Daolong Yang said. “It’s a gamechanger and you’ll regret it if you end up having school work and college work.” Before the first week of senior year is over, all students should schedule a time to meet with their college counselors. Whether this is to go through the writing they have done over the summer or to ask questions they came up with while researching schools, it is important for students to get back on track right away. Furthermore, as most students will realize, their counselors are extremely busy. Not only do they have to meet their students, they also have to read teacher recommendations, edit college supplements and personal statements, prepare student transcripts and much more. When given the chance, students should prioritize scheduling a time to meet with their counselor. “Remember to always go to your meetings, because if you forget, you’ll get in trouble,” Daolong said. “Also, make sure you go to your meetings with any questions prepared.” By Phoebe Chen (‘21) Start writing early 

Plan meetings with your counselor ahead of time

Ask a teacher you trust to read over your essays Each student is officially assigned to a college counselor during the college application process. However, this does not mean that students are bound to showing only one person their essays. One game changing decision that can drastically change any student’s application would be the advice and help from a teacher. Although your college counselor may know you well, chances are there is a teacher that has logged more hours with you in the classroom, and thus, knows you better. For those of you with teachers you trust, showing your essays to them could be a good idea. Not only will the teacher most likely give you helpful suggestions, they will also know whether your essay is a good demonstration of your character. 

Organize your supplement prompts

This may seem unnecessary, but organizing your supplement prompts into a document will allow you to manage your time wisely. Depending on which schools you are considering to apply to, you may have a varying amount of essays and questions to answer. By having all your required prompts laid out in a document, it is easier to create a tentative schedule for when you will begin and finish answering certain questions. “Writing down your questions will give you a better picture of when you want to start writing,” college applicant Tommy Cho (‘21) said. “For example, it will let you know which schools you need to begin on earlier, and which ones are not as important.” Typically, students who create a document of supplement prompts are suggested to put the questions in chronological order for safety to far reach schools. 

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