Day 5: Marketing Yourself
[View the entire series HERE]
By now, you understand the importance of taking the right courses, prioritizing extra-curriculars and preparing for tests so you can earn great scores. Following that advice, you’ll graduate successfully and be ready to rock the college world.
But there is still one step left, and it’s a big one — “marketing” yourself (a/k/a reminding colleges why they should pick you). This is not the time to be timid about your accomplishments, because college acceptance depends on it. For best results, you’ll really need to toot your own horn.
So, how exactly do homeschooled Seniors communicate with the colleges of their choice? And what does it actually take to get their attention?
1. For starters, there’s the application — a time-consuming but fairly straight-forward process. Applicants should submit the best application they can, by answering all questions honestly, by writing well, and by remembering not to leave out anything important. Writing a great application already starts making you look good.
But since so many students apply, and because many applications look somewhat the same, you’ll need to do a little more than submit a good application to get noticed. You’ll want to attach extra documentation to convince someone to choose you instead of somebody else.
So, to stand out — and I mean really grab somebody’s attention in the admissions office – teens should include some of these documents, too:
2. A killer Freshman Resume — which is like a flyer or a marketing brochure, except it’s all about you. Create one that summarizes who you are, lists a whole bunch of cool things you’ve done and highlights several of your proudest accomplishments in more detail.
3. A knock-out transcript — and not just an ordinary one, either. One with your test scores and grade point average; one listing your honors courses, AP courses and early college credits; one that looks great and has been edited for grammar, spelling and mathematical accuracy; and one that clearly demonstrates you’re not the same as everybody else, but have taken lots of substantial, relevant and fascinating electives, too. You’ll find an example of a basic transcript HERE.
4. A list of course descriptions — that you attached to the back of your transcript. List all the classes on your transcript and explain each in a little bit of detail. Include what you studied, the books you read, and maybe some of the assignments you completed. You can copy course descriptions from other places if they match exactly what you did. But it’s better if you write up every course as it was uniquely completed by you — and not by anybody else. That makes you stand out, too.
5. Examples of your work — if they’ll accept it (and not all colleges do). Re-read a previous post in this series to get ideas.
Finally, if possible, shoot for:
6. A personal interview — during which you start by being yourself, proceed by responding intelligently to questions, and end by explaining why you’ll be a good fit for the college and what you’d like to do once you get there.
Combining these elements is the best way to get noticed by the colleges you apply to. Chances are, they’ll notice, and your efforts will pay off for the next four years.
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