Tip of the Month: Polishing your application and why you shouldn’t panic…

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I admit that November has snuck up on me, as it always does.  In the rush of conferences, college fairs, visiting high schools, trustee meetings, and speaking engagements, I find myself almost at our Early Decision I deadline (November 15th!).  I would imagine that many of you are either putting the finishing touches on your applications (if you’re applying early somewhere) or (more likely) realizing exactly how much you have to do before the end of the year.  In this month’s tip, I wanted to give you a few suggestions as to how best to present your application to an admission committee.

First, there are a few things to keep in mind which I hope you will find reassuring.

  1. Human beings will be reading your application.  While at HMC we read applications online, we also read, page by virtual page, every application that comes to us.  Pieces of your application may be scanned to get them into our system, but you as a person will not be.
  2. Despite our careful reading process during which most applications will be read by two members of our admission committee, we will never get to know everything there is to know about you, and that’s OK.  If you’ve taken the time to thoughtfully present who you are through your application, you will have the same opportunity as everyone else.
  3. At HMC, we read regionally, meaning that each of us is assigned an area of the country and the world for which we are responsible.  If we are your first reader, you become ours in the best sense of the word.  We are your advocates in committee, we learn about your school and your world, and we convince everyone else what you will add to HMC.
  4. Simply by giving us exactly what we ask for, you are already ahead of the game.  We spend a good part of the winter chasing down missing pieces of students’ applications.  We only ask you to submit what we really need to make an informed decision, but we need all of those pieces.  This means making sure that you’ve met our requirements which include both a math or science teacher AND a humanities or social science teacher recommendation. Don’t worry about submitting any additional materials. Focus on what we require. That is enough.
  5. We are well aware potential technical and non-technical issues may arise. If, for some reason, you cannot get everything in on our deadline, don’t panic.  We are prepared.
  6. While we hope that you will submit your application by our deadline, it is not essential for materials from your school to be there by the deadline. It’s common for us to receive the school pieces later, and that’s OK. Please do not give your counselor or teachers a hard time if their materials are not there immediately.
  7. We like you.  We start reading every application with that thought in mind.

My final tip as we enter this stage of the application process is to always keep in mind that this works out—not always as you think or hope it might, but it does work out.  Trust in yourself and in the choices you have made, and if you have been honest in describing who you are and what you want in a college, you will end up precisely where you are meant to be next fall.  My staff and I look forward to learning more about you.

Thyra L Briggs, Vice President for Admission & Financial Aid