The key to a good college admissions strategy is your message. What one or two things do you want the colleges to know about you? You will continually drive this specific message home throughout your application process–in your essay, during an interview, in the short answers, and in your résumé.

If you have really zeroed in on the right message that communicates the value you offer to a college, it will be supported by others–such as your teachers who will be writing your recommendations!

Your message helps you three ways:

1. It makes you memorable. The more clear you are about your goals, your passions, and your strengths, the more “memorable” you’ll be to the college admissions representative who reads your application.
2. Helping the college reps helps you. College admissions reps love anything that can help make their job easier. Your message makes it easier for them to make a decision.
3. It begins to elevate you above your competition. With so many students saying in essence “I don’t know” throughout the process (maybe not those exact words, but that sentiment), your clarity will be refreshing.

Now of course, you can get through the college process without a message that’s the centerpiece to your college admissions strategy–a lot of students do. BUT, a lot of students also don’t get in to some of their choice colleges, or they get in but don’t get a lot of money to help pay the bill.

Done well, your message and the strategy you use to deliver it can be powerful tools to get you noticed and in at a particular college, as it did for one of my students, Anita.

Anita’s dad hired me to work with his daughter because she wanted to eventually go to medical school at her top-choice school: Johns Hopkins University (JHU). Anita was a strong candidate for JHU, and her dad wanted to be sure that nothing was overlooked when it came to maximizing her opportunity to attend that university.

Anita and I worked together to develop her message to the schools. She was very strong in science and math but also had an artistic side: She was an accomplished Indian classical dancer, having performed across the United States and internationally.

Together, we developed her message and helped her practice delivering it so Anita could integrate it into her conversations with the colleges effortlessly at every opportunity. The clarity and consistency of her message made a great impression, as evidenced by comments made by the admissions officer after she was accepted!

Your Smart Plan For College Assignment:

1. Create your message.
2. Identify who you’ll deliver that message to.
3. Outline how often you’ll contact them, how you’ll contact them, etcetera.

Okay, so you know you need a message but are completely lost when it comes to how to develop and deliver it. Well, then it’s time to take action and invest in some help – college is the key to future success and is just too important to leave to chance.

Author's Bio: 

Jeanmarie Keller has helped thousands of students get into colleges they love while making sure their parents save a fortune on the bill. Jeanmarie is the creator of the Smart Plan For College System which teaches her client-families how to get noticed in the admissions office, get in at the colleges right for them and how to get the money they need to help pay the bill.

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