What Students Send
Student applications always begin with the application form itself, any required essays, and the application fee. Colleges vary in what supporting items they require/recommend, so it is important to check each school’s website to make sure you have sent in all necessary materials.
Essays: Many colleges ask that you write one or more essays as part of their application process. These essays are a place for you to share your voice with colleges, to show them what you really care about, and to give them a sense of who you are as a person. Colleges use essays to determine who you are, what you have been doing, what is important to you, and what sets you apart from other applicants.
There is no one perfect topic—the best work comes from what you care about and what makes you an individual. Always choose a topic that feels right to you—trust your instincts. With your essay, you want to demonstrate two things: that you are a capable writer and that you are an interesting, mature person. Try to think “what would I like to write about?” rather than “what would someone like to hear?” Then make sure that your topic area has a clear and limited focus.
The best essays tell a story: they have a narrative arc, they show rather than tell, and they grab the reader’s interest. As with any good story, keep your essay narrow in scope and include detail, anecdotes, and specific examples. And make sure that at least one person edits all of your essays before you send them!
The college counselors at SAS have read thousands of college essays and have a deep understanding of what will and will not appeal to college admissions representatives. The SAS college counselors offer an essay writing workshop in the spring of junior year to discuss do’s and don’ts and to offer essay writing models to students. The SAS college counselors also help with essays throughout the first half of senior year. They assist in brainstorming sessions, read rough drafts to see if essays are heading in a good direction, and edit subsequent drafts for content and quality.
Official Test Scores: Unless you are applying to test-optional schools, you may need to send your SAT and/or ACT scores to colleges directly through the College Board or the ACT.
Certification of Finances: If you are not a US citizen, most US colleges will require that you provide proof of your ability to pay for college before you can be granted a US visa. Some schools may require that you submit a certification of finances as part of the application process. Please check each school’s website for more information about this and to complete the relevant forms.
Supplemental Arts Materials: If you are applying as an arts major, many US colleges will ask that you submit supplementals work such as film clips, music recordings, or art portfolios. Some colleges will allow students to submit these materials even if they do not intend to pursue an art major. Please check each individual college’s website to see whether and how they want these materials submitted.