Merry Christmas! You’ve Been Accepted

Isn’t it convenient that the West’s best holiday coincides with the most tortuous part of the year for high school seniors? If you didn’t apply Early Decision, than it’s a safe bet you’re either writing essays furiously, or wringing your hands in nervousness.

Most application deadlines are only a little more than one week away. What can you be doing in the meantime to guarantee that you get a nice, fat admission letter for Christmas? Use this handy cheat sheet to make sure that your application file is 100-percent perfect this application season.

1. Put your name and birth date on the upper right-hand side of every page in your supplemental materials. If you’re this late sending in your application materials, the last thing you want is for the admissions office to get your materials mixed up with the fifteen other Chinese applicants surnamed Wang.

2. Write an effective cover letter. Every supplemental package you send in should be topped by a letter, in standard Western business format, that lists everything in your package and how to contact you if something is missing.

3. Check the status of all of your applications. If your universities use an online system, use it. If the system indicates something is missing from your file, or if they don’t have an official online system, give the office a call. Definitely do not send them an email, because they likely won’t respond for weeks.

4. Send updated transcripts. If you attend an international school, then there’s a good chance that you’ve just finished a semester, as opposed to Chinese high schools that won’t end until late January. If your current semester is over, be sure to send your updated transcripts to the admissions office. Good grades might be the boost that get you admitted.

Bonus Tip for Senior II Students

5. For those of you happy Senior II students who think applications and college are light years away – be smart. Go ahead and sign up for an SAT exam date in March or April, so you’ll have plenty of time to take it again in June or July if your score isn’t up to snuff.

Stick with those tips and you’ll have taken care of all the little things that cause applicants undue headaches each application season. Now sit back, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate, laugh at that goofy foreigner in the red Santa outfit, and start looking forward to Spring Festival and receiving your letter of admission.

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