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Details make the difference with your college application.

  • Include your name and social security on every page of application materials you send a college. This helps ensure all of your college application materials get where they need to be.
  • Include a cover letter each time you send material to a college so the recipient knows exactly what's included and what to expect.
  • If you miss your deadlines, nothing else matters.
  • Write your college resume and application so people outside your hometown can understand you and your accomplishments, activities and leadership positions. Write out abbreviations and clearly explain your role.
  • Check neatness. Is your application legible? If a college can't read your name how will they know who to admit?
  • Turn to your parents, friends and teachers when putting together your resume for colleges. They may remember events, clubs or awards you've forgotten.
  • Never assume that a college will read your essays or even glance at your letters of recommendation. Most colleges will, but don't count on it.
  • Proof read essays and applications for grammar, not just spelling. "Your" and "you're" are very different.
  • It is OK for your references and letter-of-recommendation writers to contact a college admissions officer. Their words can help get you noticed in a good way. It's not OK for your parents to contact the college admissions officers.
  • Sort carefully. Don't send a letter explaining to the University of Maryland why you want to go to Harvard University. This mistake could immediately land you in the rejected pile.
  • Watch out for technology. A mail merge might let you send the same essay to several schools, but it won't change that last line. So when you say it's your dream to go to State U., make sure that's who will read the letter.
  • Get a professional-sounding email address specifically for your college search. Words like "baby," "sexy," "pirate," "luva," "playa" and "crunk" may suit you well now, but they may have a negative impact on your college. So keep BabyPirateCrunkXOXOX for your friends, and get a simple, serious account for your colleges.
  • Check contents. Make sure each college application has what is required, be it essays, letters of recommendation or anything else.
  • Double check mailing addresses. If your college application doesn't arrive it doesn't matter.