Expert Guidance for College-Bound Students: Application Process Tips from Admissions Experts

college application process

The college admissions process can be overwhelming. It’s important to go in with a strategy — and what better place to seek advice than from college admissions experts?

Spark Admissions is the top college admissions consultancy in the U.S. The academic counseling and college admissions support organization is run by co-founders Rachel Rubin and Rachel Blankstein. Rubin has a Harvard doctorate in Higher Education, and Blankstein has an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Together, this dynamic duo founded Spark Admissions, a college admissions consultancy that boasts a 5-star review rating on Google. 96% of Spark students get into at least one of their three top schools of choice.

The team at Spark Admissions has clearly cracked the code for college admissions success, starting with the admissions process. Here are a few top tips and pieces of expert guidance from the Spark team. For more details and further tips, you can visit the company’s site at

1. Research Each College’s Application Process

If you want to get into a reputable school, you need to treat the application process as a unique opportunity. In other words, don’t follow templates, use formulas, or copy and paste text.

Instead, take the time to research each institution’s application process thoroughly. Ivy League and most top-100 schools, for instance, each have their own distinct applications. They request different school-specific essays and want to see that the applicant really understands the unique benefits that college provides.

You want to apply with a clear understanding of how you can fit into the academic and extracurricular communities at each college. That way, your application doesn’t blend in with the rest. It stands out as a one-of-a-kind file that simultaneously demonstrates your superior qualifications while adhering to the essay word counts.

2. Make Sure You’re a Good Fit for Each College

Don’t apply to a school just because it has a famous name. Every college has its own vibes and campus culture. It focuses on different areas of expertise and cultivates its own selection of programs and offerings.

You always want to make sure you’re a good fit for the school that you’re applying to. If you have a strong interest in human environmental sciences or energy resources, for instance, you want to make sure the school has the depth of resources available in that area including courses, clubs, mentorship, and internship opportunities. If you love a sporty environment, you might want to understand which teams a particular college has and if the school’s culture is sports-oriented.

Along with academic interests, consider personal ones. Does your personality fit with the interests and initiatives of the institution that you want to attend? Did you visit the school and get a sense of the vibe? What do students say about the school on social media? Where are students getting their first jobs after graduation? This matters if you want to excel and remain plugged in as an alumni for the rest of your life.

3. Be Honest About Strengths and Weaknesses

In 2019, an Australian official serving in an important public office was accused of lying on her resume to obtain a high-paying job that she wasn’t qualified to handle. This resulted in termination and jail time.

While lying on a college application may not land you in jail, it may result in your offer of admission being rescinded. When submitting each application, you are signing a legal document that states that you are being honest about everything in your application. You don’t want to oversell yourself and you certainly don’t want to lie to get into a school.

Instead, take the time to evaluate your academic achievements during the application process. Also, consider extracurricular activities, honors, awards, community service, and even leadership roles that you’ve held.

Start with being honest with yourself. Where are your strengths? What about your weaknesses? Focus on your strengths in your application and be honest about your weaknesses if you need to address them in the application process.

4. Keep Up With the Latest College News

When you think of the news cycle, colleges aren’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, there are times when the latest news can upend not just how colleges operate but the application process as well.

Case in point, as recently as the summer of 2023, the Supreme Court ruled that the decades-long policy of race-conscious admissions was unconstitutional. Regardless of personal opinions on the subject, there is a new law in the US that states that race cannot be considered in admissions. However, you can write an essay about your racial identity and convey any personal experiences that might be relevant.

If you want your application to be relevant, keep your finger on the pulse of the latest academic news.

5. Use Video to Make an Impression

Many colleges, though certainly not all, are using short, pre-recorded videos as a part of the application process. The rationale here is pretty simple in most cases. First, it allows the admissions counselor to get to know a student and understand their personality better beyond their grades and test scores.

Second, the video allows admissions officers to see each applicant with a greater sense of authenticity. They can see honest reactions as they observe a person’s face, voice, and demeanor.

Use videos as a way to spice up your application. Don’t be overly practiced or too verbose. Instead, follow the requested format with each college and use the opportunity to add a sense of spontaneity, passion, and charisma to your application.

Applying to college can be challenging. It takes a lot of work, and one misstep can lead to a rejection. Use the tips above to turn each application into your best shot for acceptance at each university — and remember to check out Spark Admissions’ website for more expert advice on how to excel during the college application process.


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