Blog | Write Track Admissions

5 tips to jumpstart your LAW application

5 tips to jumpstart your LAW application

Reading Time: 6 minutes – 

1) Meet… 

…with a Law School advisor/consultant as early as possible – even as early as during your undergrad years. They can advise you to pick courses or a major that will serve as a platform for your law journey (some popular pre-Law majors are Political Science/Government, Social Sciences and Economics). An advisor can also ensure that you are checking off all your law school requirements as you go – your college major, GPA, LSAT prep, Letters of Recommendation, and building your STORY for the Personal Statement.

 

2) Research…

…everything to make sure this is the right path for you. It is important to ask yourself: Is law school the right fit for you? The financial and temporal commitment of law school is what makes this step crucial. Some things to consider are where you want to study law, potential law tracks (including specializations such as tax, IP, and corporate), which state to practice law, and what your long-term career/life goals may be. This will also help you when it comes time to draft the personal statement. A major factor to ponder is the potential to incur debt, and whether or not you are truly committed to the field – which is a sentiment that is necessary to pay off the debt. 

 

3) Register…

… for all the necessary accounts!

  • Create your LSAC account
  • Register and prepare for the LSAT. It is recommended that you spend around 300 hours preparing for the LSAT over the course of 3 months. Taking a LSAT practice exam can give you a baseline in order to guide how much LSAT prep you need. It can also help you better accommodate yourself to the LSAT testing conditions and time pressure.
  • Register for the Credential Assembly Service – an online resource that allows you to compile all your required documents. You should be regularly collecting and updating this cache of documents. 
  • Register for the Candidate Referral Service to be discovered by law schools you may not have considered. 

 

4) Review…

… all your compiled research, documents, and advisor assistance. Do some soul searching and start your LSAT prep as well as outline your personal statement. This is a pivotal component of your Law School Application, as it is your opportunity to showcase yourself as more than just your GPA or LSAT score. Your personal statement rounds you out as an individual and oftentimes acts as an interview, as most law schools do not conduct admissions interviews. Furthermore, what you choose to include and exclude in your personal statement can help offset any weaknesses in your applications.

 

5) Strategize…

… a timeline from late summer prior to your application process, through the fall season with hard, fast completion and submission dates. Too often students push back taking the LSAT or drafting their application materials in favor of doing it over a break, which is never beneficial. While, some experts say that rushing your application to apply early may backfire as it can be less thorough than if you were to spend a great deal of time on it, procrastinating until the winter holidays or beyond can also be fatal. So make sure to submit your application well before Thanksgiving break

 

If you are still lost, Write Track Law School Admissions offers top-tier law school admissions consulting including a unique SWOT analysis, school selection strategies, storycrafting, editing, and over a decade of guidance experience.

 

Aly Hartman | Write Track Communications Officer

Write Track Admissions

mba calendar
Time will Tell: Does applying earlier REALLY Help?

Reading Time: 4 minutes – 

Every MBA program as its own timeline and number of rounds. Though most have 3, some have more, and almost all of them operate on a different schedule. Some schools, like HBS, have their first round deadline set as early as September 4. It is imperative that as an MBA applicant, you do not force yourself into a later round because you were disorganized or unprepared. However, waiting to apply during a later round can also be a strategic move. Here at Write Track, we have broken down the most commonly used 3 Round Process for you!

mba timeline from poets & quants

(Acceptance rates by round. Limited sampling of GMAT Club Users. Source: https://poetsandquants.com/2015/12/19/how-acceptances-rates-vary-by-round/)

MBA Round 1

Applying during the first round exemplifies just how serious you are about a particular school. It implies that you have planned on attending the school, and believe your request for their consideration is strong. Statistically, first round applicants see the highest chance of acceptance, as schools typically take the largest percentage of applicants from the round 1 pool, which is also most often smaller than the round 2 pool. According to a former Duke Fuqua Admissions Committee Member

In the end, there are more slots available in round one and more opportunities to be placed on the waitlist if that’s the route the admissions committee decides to take”

So first round applicants have identified their top choices and are prepared to submit their application before the majority of other applicants do. 

 

Write Track Recommendation: If you have a great GMAT score, solid Letters of Recommendation, and a unique profile, or you identify as a weaker candidate that wants all the advantage possible… APPLY ROUND 1!

MBA Round 2

Round 2 is almost always the largest applicant pool – but the odds of acceptance are relatively similar to the first round. Furthermore, a solid GMAT score can usually ensure that the increase in competition is not too huge a deal. Through research and experience we have found that some applicants utilize this round to apply to schools that are lower on their list, while others will purposely wait to apply until this round because of a nontraditional background and a sparkling personal statement, which in most cases will shine extra bright. Taking the extra time to polish your application to perfection can also work to your advantage. 

 

Write Track Recommendation: If you need to wait to (re)take the GMAT to get a solid score, spend time getting that stellar Letter of Recommendation, and work on an outstanding application to a wide variety of programs (Reach – Target – Safety) … APPLY ROUND 2!

MBA Round 3

A highly unusual background or sheer desire to attend an MBA program are really the only reasons to wait until the third round to apply. The odds of acceptance are lowest in this round, and there is typically less scholarship money to be given out. Extremely strong candidates may still have a fair chance of acceptance, but the third MBA round is the most competitive and by all measures will limit optionality. Most people applying during this round only have a chance if they have used MBA Admissions Consulting services.

 

Write Track Recommendation: If you are eager to go to business school, regardless of the rank and can not wait another year … APPLY ROUND 3!

 

If you find yourself stuck in a later round, contact Write Track Admissions for cutting-edge MBA application assistance. We’ll ensure your application is at its strongest point so you can remain competitive even in the third round.

 

Aly Hartman | Write Track Communications Officer

Write Track Admissions

group discussing mba admissions
6 Pro Tips to Get Ahead for Round 1 MBA Applications!

Reading Time: 6 minutes – 

 

1) Ask yourself: Is MBA right for you?

Choosing to undertake an MBA program is an arduous adventure. It is time consuming and can take a toll financially in the short term, but the long term benefits of having an MBA under your belt are insurmountable. Furthermore, certain companies, such as Goldman Sachs, McKinsey & Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co., or BCG almost universally expect their hires to have an MBA background. It is important to research MBA programs thoroughly, visit schools, and see if it truly speaks to you, because when it comes down to it, admissions committees can easily tell whether or not you are applying with a true desire to study business at an elevated level. 

 

2) Figure out which MBA Round you want to apply to and plan accordingly.

Schools that utilize MBA admissions rounds typically host three rounds. It is recommended that you apply in the first round as applicants usually have a higher chance of acceptance in this round. While it is by no means detrimental to apply during the second round, the applicant pool is larger, and thus less applicants are accepted. Experts advise against applying in the third round unless you have an insurmountably unique application due to your professional experiences, identity, or diverse background. Note, even if you submit your application right before the end of a given round deadline, you are still okay.

Schools that utilize MBA rolling applications review should be applied to sooner rather than later since the later you apply, the higher the risk that the class seats fill up.

 

3) Study, Study, Study For the GMAT!

Though low test scores will most certainly keep you out of the school of your choice, stellar test scores won’t necessarily get you into that school, either. A number of other factors, such as your essays, Undergraduate grades and classes, Undergraduate school prestige, Undergraduate GPA, MBA program interview, Resume, and letters of recommendation all have a hand to play in your admissions review. If your GMAT score is well above average, you’re already halfway there. You just need to round out your application with the aforementioned “other factors.” However, the same applies if your GMAT score is sub-par. You can tailor your MBA application to fill out that particular weakness. If you are really struggling with the GMAT, try taking the GRE! Though it is not as widely accepted, it is still a viable standardized tests. Either way, you need to be wholly aware of how your test scores measure up to other applicants at the school you are applying to. 

 

4) Review your resume and recommendations!

Your resume will be compared to every other resume in your applicant pool. It is important to be cognizant of where you stand in this realm. The typical 2-year Business School applicant has 3-6 years of professional experience… How do you measure up? Does your resume speak to your leadership skills? Volunteer experiences? Quantitative accomplishments?

Further, your letters of recommendation are like the structural support of your application – they validate and reinforce all of the other elements that you have submitted. It is imperative that you find a recommender who has known you for a substantial period of time, that can substantiate your accomplishments with examples, and showers you with praise as a your #1 cheerleader. So make sure you choose your recommender wisely… If you are unsure of who to ask, Write Track Admissions offers top tier consultations for this specific issue!

 

5) Craft your story…

Your MBA essays are your pivotal point – it is your chance to demonstrate your knowledge of business, express your passion for further education, and round yourself out as an individual who will be a positive addition to the classroom. “…connect the dots and showcase why who you are, what you’ve studied, practiced and dreamed and how that makes you the ideal candidate for business school and how will ALL this play out in the future,” says Write Track Founder, Hamada Z. Essentially, you need to be sure to find your brand, make sure you have a plausible story that connects who you are, what you have practiced, what you want to do in the future, and how the MBA can get you there. 

 

6) Schedule your interview, ASAP

The MBA interview is utilized by some schools to find out who you are beyond your test scores and written application. Some schools require interviews in order to evaluate all of their applicants, while others will request interviews on a case by case basis in order to weed out the top applicants. It is imperative that if an interview is required or requested of you, that you schedule it immediately. Otherwise, you risk delaying your application decision and possibly being placed in a later application pool, thus lowering your chances of getting into your dream school.

 

If you are still unsure if an MBA education is right for you or if you are feeling lost at any point with your MBA application, contact Write Track Admissions for a consultation!

 

Aly Hartman | Write Track Communication Officer

Write Track Admissions

girls looking at computer
The Common Application – Solved!

Reading Time:  6 minutes  – 

 

Lazing around in July is a thing of the past for rising seniors. Nowadays, it is prime time to begin drafting college applications. Most schools (aside from certain schools such as the University of California) utilize the Common Application. But don’t underestimate the need to get on this early and to do a GREAT job so you can get the most universities interested in who you are and what you have to offer!

 

The Common App

 

By way of background, the Common Application is an undergraduate college admission application that applicants may use to apply to more than 800 universities in 49 states, as well as in Canada and some international schools. The site boasts that “No other system matches the diversity of colleges and universities accessible through the Common App”. While the Common App is not the only method of applying to colleges and universities, it is certainly the most widely used. You can access a full list of schools that use the Common App to get a sense of the reach of this unique portal. 

 

School Specific Supplements

 

Some of the participating schools utilize supplemental application sections in which students may need to write additional essays, provide additional recommendations, or enter more information into a separate portal. When you apply to a college through the Common App, the list of required supplemental materials will be found under that specific school’s section in the application. A great way to deal with the supplemental sections efficiently is to create a spreadsheet that tracks what each school needs and when it is due.

 

Creating Your Account Before August

 

The newest addition of the common app becomes available August 1st every year. However, experts recommend that students create an account using the Common App website before August so that your information will roll over to the latest application cycle. This way, students can input all their general information (name, birthday, social security, high school information, etc.), and get a handle of what is required so that you have time to gather it, look it over, and ensure it is correct before the new cycle begins. 

 

Completing the Common App

 

It is recommended that students give themselves at least 6 weeks to fully complete the common application. The first week or so should be dedicated to filling out the extensive student profile section, which requires a decent amount of information, such as the parents’ academic and employment history, a timeline of the student’s extracurricular involvement, any noteworthy awards and achievements, academic records, and a whole lot more! After that, the student will need to write out what is essentially their personal statement, in the form of a 650 word response to an essay prompt. 

 

Crafting the Common App Personal Statement

 

The 2019-2020 Common Application Essay Prompts can be found here. The topics are exactly the same as those from 2018-2019! These prompts run the gamut of suggested topics, and provide applicants with the flexibility to tell their personalized stories in their own unique voices. It is also the student’s opportunity to paint a true portrait of themselves that extends beyond their standardized test scores and their high school academics. A great way to begin the storycrafting process is to take inventory of all your passions and achievements in recent years and see if any noteworthy experiences fit into one of the prompts. But make sure not to repeat yourself when you start to submit your school specific supplements!

 

With the wide range of expectations that the Common App places on a student, it is easy to feel overwhelmed, or run into problems. If you find yourself in a situation where you are stuck on any section of the Common App, contact Write Track! We offer a proprietary CAPP Service (College Application Preparation Process) where we provide you with support and guidance ranging from story crafting to school selection and everything in between, starting with strategizing for the Common App!

 

Aly Hartman | Write Track Communication Officer

Write Track Admissions

College kids with computers
Top 5 summer activities to maximize college admissions!

Reading Time: 5 minutes  –    

 

The summers before you begin applying to college are crucial not only to your application but also to your personal development, and are a great way to explore your passions without the structure of school getting in the way. Really, summers can be a great opportunity to transform yourself into a well-rounded individual, while challenging yourself to discover what you eventually want to study in college, and practice in the future!

 

There are a million different ways to go about this self-exploration. But here are Write Track’s TOP 5 picks (+ a Bonus) that will give you the biggest bang for your buck, so to say. Our top summer activities will help you uncover your core, and stand out when it comes time to apply for college:

 

1. Take College Courses at a local college:

This not only accelerates you academically, but it helps you differentiate yourself as someone who is prepared for college-level courses. Taking courses that diverge from your high school general academics can also help you discover an area of study that you are interested in. ~ Enrollment: Easy | Cost: Low-Medium | Time: 1-2 months

 

2. Participate in a Research Program:

Working in a lab is one of the most tried and true methods of: (a) standing out, and (b) solidifying your passion for a particular field of science. This is a great way to set yourself apart from your peers while gaining hands-on experience in a scientific area that can not only make your college years studying that science easier. It can also give you a solid base to obtain other internships in more prestigious labs later on. ~ Enrollment: Hard | Cost: Low | Time: 1-2 months

 

3. Get a Job or Volunteer Regularly:

This one seems like a no-brainer, but so many people take the mentality of “I can work when I’m older.” Having a job before college not only demonstrates your work ethic and determination, it also gives you something to put on your resume. Plus – a little spending money never hurt anyone! Similarly, regular volunteer work shows your dedication to bettering the community around you, which is something all colleges and universities love to see on an application. ~ Enrollment: Easy-Medium | Cost: None | Time: 4-6 weeks

 

4. Visit Colleges:

If you aren’t ready to make the leap into adulthood by getting a job or taking college courses, a perfect way to enjoy your summer and travel around while also being proactive about your college search and application process is to actually visit the colleges and universities you are interested in. Time and time again you will hear stories of students who visited a college they thought they loved, and ended up hating it, or visited a college they were indifferent towards and ended up falling in love with the atmosphere on campus. ~ Enrollment: None | Cost: Medium | Time: 1-2 weeks

 

5. Study another language:

Not only does this look great on a resume or college application, but it can also fast-track you in college by potentially allowing you to bypass language course requirements. Proficiency in another language is also crucial to studying abroad, so if you are even remotely interested in that, brushing up on your skills over the summer is a great place to start preparing for that leg of your journey. ~ Enrollment: Easy-Medium | Cost: Medium | Time: 1-2 months

 

BONUS: There are a bunch of different summer camp style/pre-college programs that can be found in the U.S. or internationally. They range from engineering immersions to art & design. While these have the potential to be pricey, they are a great way of exploring your passions and growing your network! Here is a comprehensive list: 2019 Summer Programs~ Enrollment: Easy-Medium | Cost: Medium-High | Time: 2 weeks – 2 months

 

Summer activities are a gauge for your creativity, independence, and ambition. To decide what is right for you, take some time to yourself. If there is nothing out there that seems like a fit for you, think about designing your own research project, starting your own business venture, or organizing your own service project. Creating your own summer activity is the best way to prove your independence and ingenuity while also showing you are capable, innovative and creative: ideal qualities that all top colleges are looking for!

 

Aly Hartman | Write Track Communication Officer (Write Track Admissions)

Here’s Why You Need an Admissions Consultant

Reading Time: 6 minutes  –   

 

1) You Need an Outside Perspective

When you submit applications to colleges, you’re expecting a complete stranger on the admissions committee to gel with your story so well that they offer you admission. Yet, you only ask people you already know for help reviewing your application.

 

Think about that for a second.

 

How do you expect to anticipate what an outsider will think of your story? There’s a mismatch between your preparation and what is truly admired by admissions committees. After all, you only have 12 minutes to make an impression. That means you need to package your life story into 12 minutes to impress the admissions committee and stand out from thousands of other applicants. Sounds like help would be useful!

 

Hiring an outside perspective to start the new year can put you ahead of the game by catching pitfalls early-on. With years of experience in editing essays and interfacing with admissions professionals, companies like Write Track Admissions know exactly how to guarantee your application will stand out quickly.

 

2) The Competition is Using A Consultant

With applications increasing and admissions rates dropping, it is becoming more and more common to use an admissions consultant. Estimates range from around 26% to 35% of applicants use a consultant, while roughly 90% have their applications fully reviewed before submitting them. Can you afford to miss out?

 

3) It Pays to Start Early

Admissions data has shown that starting early increases chances of admission by 10 times compared to last minute applications. Starting out the new year by seeking help can give you plenty of time to craft a story, understand the application process inside-and-out, and get noticed by admissions committees.

 

An admissions consultant will lay out a roadmap to follow so you are way ahead of deadlines, instead of getting distracted or revising your applications aimlessly. If you think starting in January is too early for Fall 2019 applications… think again: some high school students are hiring consultants as early as 10th grade to get ahead! 

 

4) Writing/Bragging is Not Your Strong Suit

Even if you consider yourself a good writer, remember that admissions committees often have just 12 minutes for your ENTIRE application, which means much less for individual essays. Are you good enough to leave an impact in such a short timeframe? Hiring outside help can give your writing the panache it needs to showcase your achievements and stand out.

 

If you’re not sure how to ‘humble brag’ about yourself while writing an interesting application, it’s best to get help early. You need to figure out what additional experiences or achievements you want to pursue before college deadlines so your application can be the best it possibly can be. Any other option is simply selling yourself short!

 

Next Steps

If you’ve understood the urgency for hiring an admissions consultant and getting started on your applications, it’s time to start a roadmap to success. Remember to think about your application in terms of a pie chart: which parts need the most work in the new year? Which parts do you think are good already, but could be better? Stay tuned for another blog piece about planning out your application in 2019!

 

If you’re ready to plan out your road to success with an admissions consultant, contact Write Track Admissions today!

 

~ Abhijith Ravinutala | Write Track Director of Professional Services & Graduate Admissions Expert

 

Graduation Is Just The Beginning

The Harvard Arab Alumni Association and the Harvard Society of Arab Students invite you to a workshop on diversity, graduate school opportunities, and maximizing your college experience! The workshop will be lead by HAAA Director Hamada Zahawi, who has 10+ years of experience as an Admissions Consultant and interviewer.

When: Thursday, February 7, 2019 @ 7pm
Where: CGIS South S010: TSAI AUDITORIUM

CLICK HERE to Register!

Here’s Why You Need an Admissions Consultant this New Year

Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

2019 is here! That means getting started on your goals for this new year. An estimated 20 million people are expected to enroll in colleges in 2019 – 2020. The best time to plan your application and get ahead of the competition is now! And the best way to get ahead? Hiring an admissions consultant. Here are the top reasons why you need an admissions consultant this new year!

 

1) You Need an Outside Perspective

 

When you submit applications to colleges, you’re expecting a complete stranger on the admissions committee to gel with your story so well that they offer you admission. Yet, you only ask people you already know for help reviewing your application.

 

Think about that for a second.

 

How do you expect to anticipate what an outsider will think of your story? There’s a mismatch between your preparation and what is truly admired by admissions committees. After all, you only have 12 minutes to make an impression. That means you need to package your life story into 12 minutes to impress the admissions committee and stand out from thousands of other applicants. Sounds like help would be useful!

 

Hiring an outside perspective to start the new year can put you ahead of the game by catching pitfalls early-on. With years of experience in editing essays and interfacing with admissions professionals, companies like Write Track Admissions know exactly how to guarantee your application will stand out quickly.

 

2) The Competition is Using A Consultant

 

With applications increasing and admissions rates dropping, it is becoming more and more common to use an admissions consultant. Estimates range from around 26% to 35% of applicants use a consultant, while roughly 90% have their applications fully reviewed before submitting them. Can you afford to miss out?

 

3) It Pays to Start Early

 

Admissions data has shown that starting early increases chances of admission by 10 times compared to last minute applications. Starting out the new year by seeking help can give you plenty of time to craft a story, understand the application process inside-and-out, and get noticed by admissions committees.

An admissions consultant will lay out a roadmap to follow so you are way ahead of deadlines, instead of getting distracted or revising your applications aimlessly. If you think starting in January is too early for Fall 2019 applications… think again: some high school students are hiring consultants as early as 10th grade to get ahead! 

 

4) Writing/Bragging is Not Your Strong Suit

 

Even if you consider yourself a good writer, remember that admissions committees often have just 12 minutes for your ENTIRE application, which means much less for individual essays. Are you good enough to leave an impact in such a short timeframe? Hiring outside help can give your writing the panache it needs to showcase your achievements and stand out.

If you’re not sure how to ‘humble brag’ about yourself while writing an interesting application, it’s best to get help early. You need to figure out what additional experiences or achievements you want to pursue before college deadlines so your application can be the best it possibly can be. Any other option is simply selling yourself short!

 

Next Steps

 

If you’ve understood the urgency for hiring an admissions consultant and getting started on your applications, it’s time to start a roadmap to success. Remember to think about your application in terms of a pie chart: which parts need the most work in the new year? Which parts do you think are good already, but could be better? Stay tuned for another blog piece about planning out your application in 2019!

 

If you’re ready to plan out your road to success with an admissions consultant, contact Write Track Admissions today!

 

~ Abhijith Ravinutala
Write Track Director of Professional Services & Graduate Admissions Expert

Top FOUR Tips for Responding to a Deferral from Early College Admissions

Read Time: 6 minutes

 

Decision season is upon us! Just over a week ago, Harvard released its decisions for what was likely the most competitive early admissions cycle in Harvard history (according to the Harvard Crimson). You may have received an email that starts like this:

13.4% were admitted out of a whopping 6,958 early applicants – that means plenty of people were deferred too. To put this in basic numbers, in 2017 2.43% of regular Harvard College applicants were accepted (compared to 14.5% in early admissions), with a total percentage of acceptance at 4.59% for the class of 2022.

Even if you did not apply to Harvard, you may be one of the many applicants who applied for early decision at a college in the U.S. As decisions are being released from your top choice colleges, you need to be prepared for the possibility of a deferral. Deferral means a college will consider you for their regular admissions cycle, against a much larger set of applicants, and decide on your application in the springtime.

 

While the percentages indicate an uphill battle, it’s nevertheless a battle that will require preparation and proactive action! So definitely do NOT just wait around for college to get back to you! After all, certain colleges are asking you to be proactive. In fact, Harvard states “You are welcome to submit significant new information for consideration during the Regular Decision process.” That means you have TWO bites of the proverbial apple!

 

So now you may be asking yourself, what do I do next? Well there are a number of things you can do to better your chances of admission, and Write Track Admissions has collected them here to give you a leg up above your competition! Here’s the TOP FOUR Tips for handling a deferral.

 

1) Write a Letter of Continued Interest (LOCI)

 

The crux of responding to any deferral is in writing a bulletproof letter of continued interest! The letter is most important in convincing the college that you deserve admission, and it’s also the most overlooked. Most applicants who are deferred do not take the trouble of writing a LOCI, so you automatically increase your chances of admission by taking the initiative to write such a letter.

 

A letter should be short, sweet, and effective by covering a few basic points:

 

(a) Why the college you’ve applied to is your top choice

(b) What you’ve done/accomplished since submitting your application

(c) How you’ve taken extra initiatives to further your interest in the college (i.e., visiting the campus, talking to current students/ professors/ alumni (see below))

 

Moreover, if you’ve been admitted to other colleges in the meantime, write about that in your letter as well! You can pressure the college who deferred you to reconsider your application by proving that other top colleges have seen your potential. Remember: top colleges need impressive applicants that will go on to do great things and improve the reputation of the college; you can make them fight over you!

 

Finally, be sure to submit your letter at least a month before regular admissions decisions are expected to release. In order to write the best LOCI, keep reading the tips below for inspiration!

 

2) Take Action!

 

If you’ve been talking about an incredible idea or project for the past few months, but haven’t gotten it off the ground for any reason, NOW is the time! Get started on an extracurricular or volunteer project that demonstrates your leadership and creativity. By doing so, you can build experiences to write about in your letter of continued interest. Even if you can only write about getting your project started, that’s still impressive! At a time when most high school seniors are getting complacent, you can prove to colleges that you’re continuing to work hard towards your goals.

 
Seniors being lazy

 

3) Visit the Campus and Meet Students/Alumni/Faculty

 

You’re already showing initiative and interest in your college by writing a letter of intent and getting started on a new project, but you can go even further. Plan a visit to the college you’re interested in by calling their admissions and visitors office. Try to set up tours that let you audit a class or have other tangible experiences that you can write about in the letter of continued interest to show your passion and commitment to the college. But most importantly, be sure to interact as much as possible with current students, faculty, or alumni, and make a note of that in your letter (see point 1 above).

 

4) Ask for a Letter of Recommendation from Students/Alumni/Faculty

 

If you interact with students on your college visit, or if you already know others who are affiliated with your top choice college, ask them for a letter of recommendation! You’ve already given the college letters of recommendation in your application, but submitting another letter along with your own LOCI will give the college yet another reason to accept you. By pinpointing someone who is affiliated with the college, you’re also guaranteeing the college takes notice of your application!

Be sure to reference your letter of recommendation within your LOCI, and mention that you know people who are affiliated with your top choice college. As they say, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know!

 

Now that you have all the necessary tips/components of your letter of continued interest, be sure to write the best one possible! Write Track Admissions has experts to guide you in the LOCI process, letters of recommendation, advice on maximizing the deferment period and other application questions. After all, you NEVER want to say years later, “ah what if I had just tried to show the college that I really cared about attending”. Go the distance and do everything you can to be in that percentile admitted!

 

 

Contact us today to receive the advice you need for the most important decisions of your academic career! It’s time to Get Noticed and Get In!

 

~ Abhijith Ravinutala
Write Track Director of Professional Services & Admissions Expert

5 FAST FAFSA FACTS to ensure you get money you deserve!

Reading Time: 7 minutes

 

2018 is coming to a close. You’ve finished your application to college/ grad school (or you’re almost there!). Now what? Well, remember that getting in is only half the battle! Attending and paying for college/ grad school is the other half. In fact, the cost of college has increased by 13% in the past 5 years alone! So you need to prepare yourself for that fight, and you NEED to fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA for short*. Below we’ve prepared 5 Fast Facts on the FAFSA (try saying that five times fast) to help you make sure you get the financial aid you need for your higher education!

*Note: the FAFSA is generally for U.S. citizens but there are exceptions for eligible non-citizens.

 

1) Apply ASAP!

 

The application opened October 1, and is technically due June 30, 2019*. But you NEED to finish it as soon as possible! Financial aid at schools in many states is first-come, first-serve, so you need to turn in your FAFSA sooner to have more chances at aid. Every day that you delay could be funds that you’re losing!

*Note: Colleges often have individual FAFSA deadlines that are much sooner than the June 30 federal deadline, so be sure to look up the deadlines for your colleges.

 

2) Use the FAFSA 4Caster Tool

 

This free online tool provided by Federal Student Aid allows you to calculate how much aid you’ll get even before you fill out the FAFSA! The best use of this tool is to find new ways to maximize your aid package. Use the results to evaluate a few funding scenarios, such as whether or not you receive outside scholarships, or different ways to set up your bank account (see below). By planning and evaluating a few future scenarios, you can figure out how you want to fill out the FAFSA before officially applying for aid with final numbers.

 

3) Be strategic about your bank account

 

According to financial aid experts and the publishers at Cappex.com, you can be strategic about the numbers you provide on the FAFSA. You should avoid artificial increases in income during the years that FAFSA requires you to input. That means don’t realize capital gains (like selling a property) or take distributions from retirement plans (for those grad school bound applicants), in order to keep your expected contribution contained to any household salary. Including one-time gains can distort your income and make it seem like you have more money to pay for tuition. Following this advice makes the government less likely to overestimate your expected contribution!

 

4) Find the schools with the best aid policies

 

Consider applying to schools with a generous financial aid policy. Do the research on average aid packages from the schools you’re interested in – most school websites offer statistics. Some schools only require a FAFSA to receive aid, while others may want more materials, and some public colleges may have very little money available in the first place for funding student tuition. Plan ahead to target those colleges with a guarantee of at least some aid. As your offers start rolling in (especially if you’ve used Write Track Admissions to craft your applications!), you can compare aid packages to see which school is most affordable. Maybe you’ll even have an opportunity for a free college education!

 

5) Be prepared to appeal for more aid

 

Once you submit the FAFSA and receive aid packages from colleges, if you’re not satisfied with the aid received, don’t give up yet! If you have special circumstances that affect your ability to pay for college, appeal to the college financial aid office for a professional judgment review. Negotiating for more financial aid can feel uncomfortable, but there are ways you can approach the process to make it as smooth as possible. Check out the advice at Student Loan Hero for more info and tips on paying for college.

 

 

BONUS TIP: Consider institutional aid and scholarships

 

On top of the FAFSA, some colleges require the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile, which is administered by College Board. Almost 400 colleges use it to award non-federal student aid, so you definitely need to fill this out too! Plus, you can apply for scholarships from local and national organizations. To get started, check out the nine best scholarship search tools around the web. By covering all your bases, you’ll get the largest amount of financial aid for college possible. Whatever your path, education debt is real and should not be underestimated.  Feel free to contact Write Track to help guide you in the financial aid quest and the scholarship process, but do it quick to avoid being saddled with debt for decades to come!

 

~ Abhijith Ravinutala | Write Track Director of Professional Services & Graduate Admissions Expert

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