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For most high school students, senior year is a busy one. You might be involved in a variety of extracurricular activities for which you, as one of the older students, have become a bit of a leader in. You have some challenging classes that you are trying to perform well in and likely a busy social life as well.

Among the many things that you have to take care of during your senior year, you also need to ensure that you are paying particular attention to your college applications. The bulk of this work will probably be completed within the first half of the school year, but many students work on their applications through March of their senior year.

The reason why your college applications require so much work is that you are going to be trying to show off your skills and abilities to the best advantage in order to be offered a coveted spot at the school of your dreams. Those hoping to avoid disappointment would do well to start on their applications sooner rather than later.

If you are currently in the process of applying to a few colleges and universities, here are a few tips that can help you to build a stronger application that will help you to stand out from the crowd in a positive way.

Know Where You Stand

The first step involved in writing a strong college application is to know how you currently stack up against the average accepted applicant at the schools you want to go to. Tools like CampusReel can help by calculating your chances of getting into a certain school based on your current GPA and SAT scores. If you have taken the ACT already, this can be used as well.

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If you find that your scores and grades aren’t high enough, then now is the time to do something about it. Speak to your teachers about how you can bring your grades up before applying to schools and register to take the SAT or ACT one more time. With the right grades and scores, you will be well on your way to having a strong application.

Statements and Letters

The parts of your college application that involve more than simply checking boxes and filling in the blanks are your personal statement and your letters of recommendation. Because of this, these are the areas that you will likely spend the most time on.

Most applications offer at least two options for your personal statement prompt. Choose the one that will allow you to put yourself and your skills in the best light possible. Make sure that you have a friend or teacher look over your statement for grammatical and spelling errors, as these can hurt your chances.

When deciding what teacher to ask for a recommendation letter, select someone who knows you well and who can frame your academic accomplishments and character in a way that will stand out positively to an admissions officer.

With the right statement and letters, you can have a truly strong application to the college of your dreams.