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Application tips. “What an ambiguous topic,” you say. How can one go wrong, guided by the required fields and checkmarks in the Common Application? Where are the ambiguities in providing biographical information? What finesse is there to be had in listing my extracurricular activities? Filling out a “form” such as the Common Application seems like a pretty straight-forward task; however, we see students every year who do not take this opportunity to give us a full picture of their candidacy, and I want to lend you some advice to help you portray your talents in the best way possible.
1. “What’s in a name?”
Turns out, there’s more than our girl Juliet thought. When you are telling us your biographical information, including your family’s information, take time to get all the specifics. Think Grampa Joe went to Furman but you’re not 100% sure? Do your best to find out, because being a legacy student applying to Furman has some perks. Is your name Josiah Edward Bartlet but everyone calls you “Jed”? Make sure you let us know so we can make sure all of the components of your application (transcripts, letters, addenda) make it to the right place.
2. Spell things out for us.
I completely understand – “Advanced Placement Environmental Science” is a mouthful, so you and your classmates refer to it colloquially as “APES.” If, and only if, you are enrolled in a class studying primates (which is awesome), should I see this listed in your “Current Courses” section. Some students also disregard this section entirely, which can be problematic when we are trying to consider the classes you are working so hard in during your senior year of high school. These are not always listed on your transcript, so be sure to include those.
3. Prioritize your extracurricular activities.
Don’t hide “brokered international peace agreement” at the bottom of your enumerated list of activities. Be sure to put what is most important to you and what you are most proud of first. And along those lines…
4. Brag – it’s okay!
Tell me what you’re doing in all of the organizations to which you have devoted so much of your time. A little blurb on what you have done with “Link Crew” or “U.B.W.C.*” or “Beta Club” can be very helpful, especially with so much variation between schools. Tell me the championships you have played in, the recognitions you have received, and the awards you have won. Our students are passionately involved in what they do – we want to see you share that passion with us!
5. Don’t try and fit a square peg into a round hole.
The best supplemental essays not only answer the prompt, but do so with specific information relating to your future at Furman. Some students try to write one essay that they can recycle for each school. We intentionally avoid the “Why Furman?” prompt so we can learn more about what impact you plan to make at Furman and what impact you want Furman to make on you. Use this opportunity to share why you think you could be a good fit for Furman.
6. It ain’t over until the green check marks sing.
You’ve finished your Common Application – congratulations! We still need a few things to ensure your application is truly complete. Be sure that we have received your transcript, school report, test scores, application fee, and any recommendation letters you sent by visiting your status checker. Until we receive those items, your application will be incomplete, so be sure to follow up online to ensure everything is in so we can continue getting to know you through the application process!
* – Underwater Basket Weaving Club