Tips on Starting your College Application!

Hello Seniors!   

While the temperatures are still summerish here in Needham, the Olin Class of 2027 has arrived on campus, and fall is in the air!  You can keep your sweaters packed away for a few more weeks, but I would strongly encourage you to begin thinking about your college applications (like you haven’t been thinking about them all summer, I’m sure!).  

The first step in any big endeavor is always the hardest one to take, so with that, here are a few tips to help you start your college applications: 

  • Finalize your list of colleges and note the application deadlines.  If you are a spreadsheet kind of person, then make one listing all the colleges you’re interested in. It can be a helpful tool to keep all the pertinent information in one place.  

  • Make a note of the application requirements for each place you’ll apply to.  Add these to your spreadsheet too! Schools might use a different application, or they could have their own supplemental pieces they require, such as an additional and school-specific essay.

  • Check if your schools require testing or are test optional.  Olin is test optional, but other schools may require the SAT or the ACT, so make sure that you’ve completed whatever testing is needed and have the scores sent to those institutions.  

  • Set some interim deadlines so you can pace yourself:  plan to have your portion of the Common App completed by October 1, for example.  Make a checklist of the interim deadlines (if you are a checklist kind of person 😊). This helps to break up the process into manageable chunks.

  • Think carefully about the topic for your Personal Statement. Talk with someone (a friend, your counselor, a parent, or family member) as you begin to consider what you will write about. 

  • Ask your recommenders early.  Remember, these teachers frequently will be writing recs for multiple students.  Be sure to give them enough time to write a rec for you, and then be sure to thank them profusely! 

  • Include all the things that you do outside of school on your list of extracurriculars.  If you are responsible for picking up a younger sibling at school, have a job, or are the one who makes dinner for your family, be sure to include those things.  They are just as important as being on the basketball team or in Model UN. We want to hear about how you spend your time.  

  • Finally, just take a deep breath and start!  Don’t procrastinate.  It’s a stressful process, but you can do this!  

dog patting the head of another dog with the caption "You can do it. I believe in you"

If one of your applications is headed to Olin (and I hope that it is), check here for more details.  And remember that you can always email us (or any college admissions folks) if you have more questions!