Skip to main content

College Prep

Edward Maloof, College Preparatory Consultant at TutorsPro, works with students and parents on school choices and explores options with them to find the right fit for their interests, career goals, and educational backgrounds. He provides admissions counseling and takes time to research colleges and their attributes at various competitive levels (ivy and little ivy, mid-tier, low-tier) as well as what they look for in a candidate.

How to prepare for college applications

The college admissions process is a year-long cycle. It begins with applications in the fall followed by early decision replies. The winter has admissions and financial aid evaluations. Acceptances and rejections and financial aid decisions follow in the spring. Wait-listed candidate letters, and enrollment occurs in the summer.

Many students make their final decision to enroll in April, though some commit to early decision or early action as they apply. Narrowing down a list from hundreds of schools, choosing an appropriate few, and completing applications is a daunting task for an individual to handle on their own.

TutorsPro is dedicated to making the process seamless for students and setting them on a path to a successful future, starting with deciding on the best schools.

How to decide where to apply

On average, high school students apply to six colleges, though the number might range from two to fifteen. Typically, the list includes:

  • Safety schools: Universities that boast a high level of certainty for acceptance because your credentials exceed their average.
  • Reach schools: Dream schools where your academic credentials fall below the average accepted student.

Most students base their decision to apply on the following factors:

  • Affordability (Cost and financial aid)
  • Desired programs
  • Reputation/academic quality overall and in specific departments
  • Graduate school admissions
  • Employment opportunities for graduates
  • ROI vs cost
  • Environment/fit, activities, social life, sports, etc.
  • Proximity to home, location (urban, suburban, rural)
  • Commuting (time, public transit, car, parking) vs. residential

What to expect from the application

Once schools are chosen, an application must be submitted for each. The process is complex and time-consuming as it typically involves these key components:

  • Application Form
  • Financial aid application and supporting documentation
  • Internal and external scholarship applications
  • Application Fees
  • Transcripts
  • SAT/ACT Scores
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Essays
  • Auditions/Portfolios
  • Interviews

College Essay

After high school GPA, grades in college prep courses, strength of high school curriculum, and SAT/ACT scores, the college essay ranks as the fifth most important factor in the admissions process, according to a 2019 National Association for College Admission Counseling survey. At selective schools with four or more academically qualitied applicants for each spot, essays can count for 25% or more of admissions criteria.

Applicants tend to discuss one or more of these themes:

  1. Sports: In an essay about athletics, applicants might zero in on the details of a game, meet, or competition rather than elaborate on how the experience affected them. Or they might discuss an injury in response to an essay that poses the question: how or when did you overcome an obstacle? Sports can be a great subject if students delve into deeper topics about being a team player, learning to be a leader, and staying positive in the face of competition.
  2. Service-based activities: These essays focus on volunteer work, for example, or time a student has dedicated to helping others.
  3. Relationships: This might discuss a mentor, significant friend, or family member in your life. Regardless of how common they are, all these topics are valid essay submissions. What matters most to admissions teams is sharing meaningful self-reflection. How did you grow as a person? What life lesson did you learn? How has your perspective changed?
  4. Life goals and career aspirations
  5. Why they want to attend this particular college
  6. Lessons learned from overcoming hardship
  7. Values, often a key part of a personal statement

Your College Prep Tutor can help distill the right information into your personalized essay and boost your application to show schools a compelling picture of who you are: a unique snapshot that sets you apart from the hundreds of other applicants. Admissions committees look for both substance and form in evaluating essays and stories as work products.

Early decision and early action:

Early decision and early action are the primary types of early applications. Within these programs there restrictions, individual requirements, and deadliness.

About your TutorsPro College Prep Service

Ed is an alumnus of Columbia University with a career in market communications. He has extensive consulting experience in strategic marketing and decision-making, brand management, and communications strategy. With a deep understanding of market research and analysis, he knows how and where to best showcase the voices of his clients. His professional focus at TutorsPro on admission counseling, scholarship applications, and essay preparation. He prioritizes collaboration with his clients, working with them to develop their ideas so that they can present schools with the strongest applications possible.


Have questions about our College Prep program?