While most Bellevue College students who want to attend a four-year university transfer, Running Start students must go through the freshman application process just like any other high school student if they want to attend a university in the fall after their senior year. So, for those running start students who, like many others, don’t get enough information and advice from their high school counselors, here is some advice from someone who has been through the whole process.
Tip 1: Start early
Yes, it is what basically everyone tells high school students, but it is important. Starting in the summer is advantageous, even if it’s minor steps like picking which colleges to apply to in the first place or figuring out how the high school handles letters of recommendation and official transcripts, things that most universities require.
Freshman applications are long and tedious, and every single one is different, so taking a look at what each university wants the potential student to do would really speed up the entire process, especially when deadlines start to creep closer.
Tip 2: The essay and activities are essential
Universities don’t just want to know a student’s GPA and SAT scores anymore. They want to learn about their personalities, hardships they’ve overcome or are still working to overcome and how they view the world. The college essay and a students’ activities are their main source of information for that. If a student has a high GPA but a small amount or no outside activities, they are less likely to be accepted than someone with a slightly lower GPA and multiple activities. The same goes for essay quality. High school and admissions counselors alike say that the college essay is often the most important factor in deciding whether a student should be admitted or not. Students should not be afraid or embarrassed to read a college essay writing book if they have no idea where to start. These books will usually include brainstorming tips, a format for those requiring structure, review ideas and examples of essays that got other students accepted to prestigious or Ivy League universities. I used “College Essay Essentials” by Ethan Sawyer.
Tip 3: Get feedback and ask for help if needed
As well as focusing on the essay, applicants should take advantage of the many college essay review sites that can be found on the internet. All a student needs to do is sign up and submit their college essay. Usually, the people who review the essays used to work as admissions counselors in universities.
Then, the student will get their essay back with feedback and comments on how to make it better and students can edit and send their edits in for more review if they want to. Asking counselors and trusted teachers or instructors to review an essay or activity resume would also help with the process.
Tip 4: Stay in contact with a high school counselor
This one is extremely important. The high school counselor is in charge of granting official transcript requests, submitting letters of recommendation and making sure the student has all requirements to graduate from high school in the first place. Additionally, high school counselors usually know the freshman application process very well after helping their students apply to college for years. The problem is running start students are many times overlooked when it comes to giving out information. Non-Running Start high school students will have assemblies or official times to meet with their counselors, but Running Start students need to make the extra effort to email and go visit their counselors whenever they have a question or concern or just need to know more about the process. Establishing an effective means of contact with my high school counselor was the only reason I was able to finish my applications.
Tip 5: Double check everything
Make sure all facts are correct, the essay’s grammar is flawless and transcripts, SAT scores and letters of recommendation are sent. There could have been a problem with any of these, in which case checking can be the difference between a complete and incomplete application.