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Applying for college takes some preparation. Students must follow deadlines and have spent their high school careers building experiences that can translate to a well-rounded resume that will stand out to admissions officers.
Timeliness is an important aspect of the admissions process, said Tanya Corder, a senior counselor for John Hardin High School. Corder tells students it is best to apply as early as possible, because it allows them to get responses sooner, consider financial aid options, apply for housing and take part in student orientation.
Corder said she strongly urges students to become involved in activities, because schools want more than good grades.
"Most colleges tell us, 'we want the holistic student,'" she said.
Myra Lewis, a senior counselor for Central Hardin High School, said showing leadership in those activities is important, too.
"You don’t want to just be a participant, you want to be an active participant," Lewis said.
Jakob Burnham, a senior at Central Hardin High School, began seriously considering his college applications at the end of his freshman year. He took classes he knew would prepare him for college and joined clubs, with which he volunteered as often as possible.
He also continued relationships with teachers after leaving their class so he could go to them for letters of recommendation this year.
Burnham said he focuses on not burning himself out with the stress of balancing his academics with clubs. He said he prioritizes his activities, such as when he worked on a blood drive in the fall. He didn’t take on any other projects during that time. He also tries to get his school work done early to leave time for his volunteer work.
“I make a point that school always comes first,” he said.
When he applied to colleges, he customized his resume for each school, focusing on on what each would like to see. He focused on his volunteerism in his application to Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, for example.
“By uncluttering my application, it will hopefully help me stand out,” he said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747.