It’s national ice cream month, but before you go chill with some frozen treats, we have an analogy for you. College admissions requires a strategy, and fortunately for you, we have it—just think of college applications like building an ice cream sundae.
First, you have to have your solid base—your cup. Just like how you can’t build a sundae without a cup, you can’t start your applications without knowing where you want to apply. This summer is the time for college tours for rising high school juniors and seniors. Curate a list of colleges that you want to tour based off of your priorities and qualifications. See our “Time to Tour” blog for tips on how to tour colleges, and make sure you take notes on features that stand out to incorporate in your “Why *Insert School Name” essays later!
Second, it’s time to start building your actual sundae (your application) with your base flavor. Vanilla? Chocolate? Cookies and cream? You choose! This is the essay portion of your applications, and it’s all about making your essay showcase what makes you special and different from other applicants. So what’s your flavor?
Third, you have your second scoop of ice cream—the supplemental essays. This scoop is your second favorite flavor, or the part of yourself that you want to show that is second most important to demonstrating the entire you! Be careful to choose topics that are complimentary to the rest of your essay, meaning that together, the written parts of your essay should weave a narrative about who you truly are.
Fourth, your toppings, the strategic resume portion! So far, your application has the main components, the common app and supplemental essays, but what about the parts of you that aren’t included in just those essays? Everyone is more than just two flavors, so this is your place to show your oreos, M&Ms, and marshmallows.
Finally, the whipped cream and cherry on top are your letters of recommendation. The key to this step is to ask 2-3 sophomore or junior teachers if they would feel comfortable writing you a STRONG letter of recommendation. Make sure you give them a date that is earlier than you actually need them, and ask early so that they don’t need to rush yours or make it seem generic.