Top 10 Tips for the College Admission Process

We know applying to college is no easy task—and most often involves multiple applications to multiple colleges. From finding the right program and worrying about deadlines to figuring out what to say about yourself in that daunting essay—it’s a lot to juggle.

Fortunately, we’re here with some pro tips from real Champlain students who went through the process, and a real college admissions counselor (who does indeed read all those applications) about completing these tasks and making the process as smooth as possible. Here are the top 10 tips they recommend for navigating this special time.

Our first five tips come from Cody Campbell, one of Champlain’s admissions counselors:

  1. Apply early. Whether you’re applying Early Decision or Regular Decision, applying early allows us to be sure everything has been received for your application and it allows you to reduce stress for your senior year.

  2. Review your essay. Be sure to read your essay more than once to make sure it is clear, concise, and shows your best self. Read it over, read it out loud, bring it to a friend or teacher, however you choose to review your essay, be sure to give it another pass.

  3. 650 words is the limit, not the goal. If your essay seems wordy, drawn out, or lengthy, see where you can pare it down. If you say what you’d like in 600 words, don’t try to stretch your essay to meet the limit.

  4. Share what you’re doing. We love to see applications from busy beavers, but activities can be more than what you’re doing at school. If you work, have family responsibilities, volunteer, or anything else that takes your time outside of class, let us know! We want to see how you engage your time.

  5. Breathe. If you feel like you are holding your breath to write that perfect application, take a breath. We want to see you in your application! Stress less about writing the perfect application and focus on sharing who you are and why you’d be a good fit for the Champlain Community.

But don’t just take his word for it. Here are some insider tips from real Champlain students who went through the process:

  1. Do not forget to portray the person behind the screen. So often, people get sucked into the process and forget that as much as the school wants to see your grades, they also want to see you as a person.
    —Wolde North ’24

  2. Having a well-established communicative relationship with the admissions counselor(s) at the college. Can be through email/virtual meets if far away, or in person, if that opportunity arises. Interviews boost your chances a lot. It’s important to ask all the questions you can, it’s their job to help you with the admissions process. Big step up if whoever’s reviewing your application actually recognizes you!
    —Brayden Riddell ’25

  3. Make a lot of inquiries with the person tasked to help you throughout the admissions process.
    —MacReady Byrd ’25

  4. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, talk to recruiters and admissions people, go on tours, and sign up for interviews.
    —Karlo Pineda ’25

  5. Take your time! Don’t stress too much and enjoy the process!
    —Savannah Lancaster ’26

Thinking about applying Early Decision? See our “Six Benefits of Applying Early Decision.”

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