You’ve worked hard in school for 12 years. You’ve researched a ton of colleges. And now it’s time to apply. But figuring out which colleges to apply to and completing a compelling application can be daunting.

However, there’s no need to stress, says Fred Quick ’14, assistant director for the College of Charleston’s Office of Admissions.

“I tell students they’ve already done the hard part,” Quick says. “We already have three years of grades showing us your academic work in the classroom. You’ve already taken the SAT or the ACT. Now, we need you to put it down on paper and show us who you are.”

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In recognition of College Application Month, Quick and Rebecca Drewry, also an assistant director for the Office of Admissions, offer a few do’s and don’ts for prospective students as they sit down to apply to the College of Charleston:

  1. Take ownership of the process, says Drewry. “We want to get to know you and your successes through this process, not anyone else’s,” she says. “In the end, you are the one attending college.”
  2. Visit the campus before you apply. “Everyone can sell the dream of college,” says Quick, “but actually getting on campus and seeing what it’s like and if it’s a place you feel comfortable and a place that you can make your own for the next four years is really important.”
  3. Don’t have your parents do the work for you, says Drewry. If they have questions then the student should reach out and ask. “This is your process,” she says.
  4. Narrow down your list of schools before you apply. “Ideally, you’ll have three to five schools at the top of your list,” says Quick. “If you narrow the list before you apply, you’ll already have your top three in mind versus making that decision in the spring when you have prom and graduation going on.”
  5. “I always stress the importance of the essay,” says Quick. CofC’s application essay topic is “Why CofC.” Quick says students should focus their essay on who they are, what they’re interested in doing at the College and why, and how the College will play a part in this journey. “Approaching the essay this way drives home that not only have they done research on CofC, but they can see themselves within our community,” he says.
  6. Don’t forget to proofread, says Drewry. That includes checking over grammar, punctuation and making sure you put the right university’s name in the application and essay (the College of Charleston!). Read it over once and then do it again. “Don’t submit the application without reviewing and proofreading everything,” says Drewry.
  7. If you’re not sure about something, reach out to your admissions counselor! “We are here, willing and able to help you through this stressful process,” says Drewry.

The deadline for early action is Nov. 1. The deadline for regular notification is Jan. 15. To learn more about the application process at the College of Charleston visit the Office of Admissions website.