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Submitting Hard Copy Applications

Erick Widman - Friday, January 22, 2010

Most universities and programs now offer applicants the option, usually preferred, of submitting their materials online. Even letters of recommendation can be transmitted by your recommenders directly via the Internet, leaving only official transcripts and test scores to be submitted by mail.

However, some applicants may prefer to submit hard copy applications, or they may be required to do so because online applications are unavailable. In such cases, Sibia Admissions offers the following useful tips. Though the content of your application is certainly of utmost importance, certain aspects of formatting and appearance should not be ignored.

Write legibly – or even better – use a typewriter or word processor.

If the application is available as a .pdf file with fill-in blanks, you should indicate your responses directly on your computer and print out the completed application. Otherwise, you might consider using a typewriter to fill in your responses. If you must handwrite your answers, be sure that you do so legibly. Admissions officers must go through countless applications every day; save them the trouble of having to squint to decipher your handwriting. Otherwise, your application may receive a more cursory reading from tired eyes.

Label all attachments and supplementary materials clearly.

For certain questions, you may find that the space allotted to you on the paper application is insufficient. You can certainly write on the space provided, “Please see the attached page for more complete information,” or something similar. However, you should state clearly where the admissions officer can find this page. Furthermore, the separate page should have an easily visible title. If the admissions officer stumbles upon this page first, he or she will then know not to toss it out. Try not to include too many of these attachments, as these extra pages may be lost or make your application seem overly fussy and unreadable.

Maintain readability and clear formatting.

On pages that you elect to attach as extra components, or on such required attachments as resumes, be sure to format your documents appropriately. These pages should not be crammed with text in absurdly small font with narrow margins. Be concise and deliver only necessary information, as excess of information does not translate into a stronger application. Ensure there is sufficient “white space” on these pages, and the admissions officer reviewing your candidacy will be more appreciative!

For assistance with your applications, regardless of whether you are a high school student applying to college, or a graduate applying to professional school or graduate programs, contact Sibia Admissions today to get started!

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