College application season: What to consider, what not to stress out about

Suzanne Monaghan
September 14, 2018 - 8:43 pm

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- For high school seniors, fall is the time to start applying to colleges.  The process can be confusing and overwhelming for students and parents.

The first thing to consider is location and campus atmosphere, says Davin Sweeney of Collegewise.

"The overwhelming majority of colleges are going to have what you want to major in," he said. "More importantly though is, are you going to be comfortable there."

Apply to about eight schools that are a mix of reach, target and back up options.

"Reach would be like wow that would be like winning the lottery if I got in there, let's give it a shot,” Sweeney explains. “A target school is one where you reasonably fall into the threshold of admissibility and then some back up options where you feel really strongly that you ought to be able to get in here."

Don't overstress about the essay, adds Sweeney, and understand the reader is often a fairly recent graduate.

"If you're thinking about that gray beard professor, with tweed jacket and patches on the elbows and pipe in his hand reading your application,” he said. “That is very unlikely going to be your audience.”

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