Admission Staff Offers Six Tips for College Applicants

Across America, high school seniors and transfer students are focused on upcoming application and scholarship deadlines.

UT’s regular deadline for admissions and the Volunteer Scholarship is December 15.

“Applying to college is an important decision and amazing time in a student’s life,” Associate Provost for Enrollment Management Kari Alldredge said. “My main advice to college applicants is to make sure they take time to reflect on all they’ve accomplished up to now and then get excited about the road ahead.”

Alldredge and her staff offer a few tips for making the application process successful and as stress-free as possible:

Take ownership of the process: Applying for college is a major milestone for students and their parents. Instead of thinking of it as the last major event of a student’s childhood, consider it one of the first major events of adulthood. “We love working with parents too, but encourage students to initiate and lead communications and questions,” Alldredge said.

Take time filling in the application: This is a place to showcase yourselves. Make sure the application and essay are comprehensive and clean. Be careful with spelling and details. Check it over before you submit.

Stress quality over quantity: When penning your personal statement, resist the urge to create a laundry list of one-off activities. Stress the things that mean the most to you. Explain how you invest your time outside class, whether it be in extracurricular activities, a job or internship, volunteer activities or family and community engagements.  “Share your passions,” Alldredge said. “We want to get to know you, both as a scholar and a person.”

Allow time for recommendation letters to be done: These letters are important and the best ones take a while to write. Remember, your letter may not be the only one your recommenders are writing.

Once you’ve applied, be patient: It typically takes several days for the admissions office to receive and process test scores and transcripts. UT employs a holistic review process, which means admissions staff look not only at academic qualifications but also extracurricular and community service activities and unique situations. “We consider the full student—which can take a little extra time,” Alldredge said.

Follow through: Don’t forget what happens after you hit submit. Keep an eye out on your application status; you may be asked to submit additional items or answer questions.

Visit campus: By application time, many applicants have already visited campus. But if you haven’t, schedule a trip. “We tell all interested future Volunteers that the best way to get a feel for what it is like to be at UT and what our university and city have to offer is to come for a tour,” Alldredge said.

Amy Blakely (ablakely@utk.edu, 865-974-5034)