News — 07 November 2013
Bekka Wiedenmeyer
Managing editor

‘Tis the season! With the holidays coming up, it’s time to focus on the real things in life: turkey, cranberries, eggnog lattes and everything pumpkin.

With those scrumptious ideas in mind, though, it’s also time to focus on things that may or may not be as important (depending on the person): college applications. Questions like how many colleges to apply to, how many students do those colleges accept and reject and what can be said to convince them to accept run through many students’ minds.

These may be a few of the questions the average student is asking him or herself this holiday season, along with what to do with turkey gizzards and if there is a difference between baking soda and baking powder. If the reader can identify with this student, then read further. College applications can be tedious and stressful, but they can also be fun and creative.

So sit down, tie your napkin around your neck and prepare for a holiday treat. Here’s how to make yourself look good on college applications.

Apply somewhere where you will feel happy.

Don’t be afraid to choose as many or as few schools as you want. Typically, any number between five and eight is satisfactory, but don’t pick schools just to pick schools. Make sure it is a school that you would feel at your happiest, whether it is your first choice or your last choice. It’ll help motivate you for your applications, and it will narrow down your choices a lot.

“It depends ‘cause sometimes if you apply to some schools you don’t get it into them. It’s good to have a backup,” Dana Bote, LPC student, said.

Why just have mashed potatoes when you can have baked potatoes and candied yams, too?

Make sure you’ve got the grades.

It doesn’t matter if you have an A or a B or a C. What matters is that all the grades are gathered in one place, ready to be sent off to the school of your choice. Sign a transcript request form, which can be found under Admissions and Records on the Las Positas College website, and either mail it to or drop it off at the Admissions and Records office so the schools can receive your transcripts in time. Also, even though you may be a transfer student, it still won’t hurt to include those SAT and ACT scores with your application.

“I don’t say it in a mean way, but I think the way to stand out is your GPA. I think if you can talk, if you’re nice, I think that’s something that helps,” Fan Liu, Las Positas College student, said.

As with cinnamon and other delicious spices, the more the better!

Write a unique essay.

This may be easier said than done, but it is always better to stand out than get washed away in the droves of every day applications rolling in to your college of choice. Every college will have different prompts, some a lot stranger than others and easier to make unique. For the colleges that only ask you to write about something in your childhood that influences you today, however, make sure you pick something that is unique only to you. That way you won’t be forgotten in the masses.

“You need to write about your experience and what makes you really passionate, why you want to be something,” Liu said.

As you know, Grandma’s secret recipe of cornbread is better than anyone else’s.

Get a letter of recommendation.

These aren’t always required, but they certainly won’t hurt, either. Ask a teacher at LPC who knows you well enough (or tolerates you well enough) to write a letter of recommendation to your school informing them of the reasons that they should accept you. It adds credibility to the claims on your application and makes you look good overall.

“If you’re close with your teachers, you talk to them a lot and they know you. You can get more scores, I guess, for college,” Bote said.

Once again, Grandma’s secret recipe of cornbread is better than anyone else’s. Your whole family can attest to that.

Don’t be afraid to boast.

When you’re filling out your application, this is the chance you have to talk yourself up. Don’t be afraid to describe your achievements, your great grades, your volunteer work. These are the things that colleges are looking for, so make it easy for them. If your student newspaper won an award at an international collegiate conference, tell them. If LPC has awarded you some kind of scholarship or form of recognition, put it on your application. Don’t hold back — this is one of the few times where you can toot your own horn and not ruffle people’s feathers.

If you make the best pumpkin pie in the neighborhood, let everyone know what they’re missing out on.

All in all, college applications should be an exciting time in a student’s life. While community college can be a great experience, it’s always a rush to know that your environment will be changing next year, maybe to a different city or even a different state. Now is the time to begin that change, and the points above are the starting points to get you to that change.

So take the turkey out of the oven and put the pumpkin soup on a low boil. It’s time to start those applications.

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We are the award-winning student newspaper of Las Positas College in Livermore, Calif.

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