Start your college application process - undergraduate or postgraduate, national, or international colleges - with a dose of authenticity. Beyond the grades obtained in your school-leaving exams, before you start to apply your mind to fill out the application form, including all the extracurricular activities, keep in mind that colleges and universities in India value transparency in students. Admission officers reviewing your application form should be able to get a clear idea about the person behind the application.

A great application is one way to share your story with an admissions committee.

Undergraduate courses, postgraduate research courses, or postgraduate study in a specialist field all require students to apply their minds to the application. The process of gaining admission into a college or a university has to follow the specific requirements as laid out on the college or university admission page. In this article, we discuss some simple measures that students can take in order to secure their entry into top-ranked colleges in India in 2020, according to the NIRF parameters.

university ranking
Colleges and universities are ranked according to student performance, infrastructure, and many other parameters. | Source: Joshua Golde on Unsplash


College applications are a tricky business. Regardless of the course you apply for - a postgraduate pr graduate course, a course in international studies, or even an online course in the many prestigious open universities in India - knowing how to write a college application can be the key to gaining entry into your favorite college or university.

Spend some time brainstorming how you want to present your profile on your college application.

For example, consider having an entry for your school activities and clubs you may have been part of. The top colleges in India, like those affiliated to Delhi University, place great emphasis on the applicant's writing abilities and presentation of his/her story in the application submitted. Especially in courses such as those offered by an IIT or the Faculty of Arts at Delhi University, students can gain brownie points through a well-written college application.

Create a List of Colleges You Want to Apply To

Draw up a list of colleges that you want to apply to. Check whether you meet the admission requirements, along with the date of applying, entrance exam, submission of fees (and fee structure). Not only this, students should also check whether the colleges are what they are looking for in an educational institute.

Determine whether the college has a reputation for job placements, check their research facilities, or whether they provide accommodation on campus for non-local and international students. Familiarize yourself with the admissions procedure and requirements for online application form submission. Also, check the list of documents that a college is asking for, which may require attestations.

Create a List of Admission Requirements

Student applications must contain details that show the right intent, as well as summarize your experiences, academic record, and interests that you are passionate about. Nowadays, most colleges and universities in India have opted for online application processes. Find out key details of the information they are asking for. Create a list of the necessary requirements and think each one through before start to apply.

Once you have shortlisted desirable colleges in India, create individual lists of admission requirements for each. While there may be some generic requirements, most colleges and universties have specific admission criteria as well, including extracurricular activities, unique talents in students, letters of recommendation, and so on.  Find out if colleges or universities are asking for relevant work experience from applicants.

Writing university applications requires careful planning and accurate implementation of ideas. | Source: Pixabay

Tuition Fees

Students need to be aware of the complete fee structure of each college. While the best colleges in India will have dedicated sections on their admission portal about the course fee requirements, be sure to read the fine print. For example, the cost of accommodation (hostel or off-campus), research lab charges, or any other special costs.

Appropriate Financial Grant

Unfortunately, higher education in India is still not as affordable as one would like it to be. But, fret not even if you are financially disadvantaged. Leading Indian universities offer scholarships and fellowships for both national and international students to pursue their goal of learning.

Don't be disheartened if the cost of education seems too steep at first. Research about the funding opportunities from public and private organizations in the country, as well as international aid, though the latter may be more suitable for research programs in India.

Write and Apply

Now that you have decided which course you want to pursue, for example, an undergraduate course in English from Delhi University, and gathered all the necessary details of the course and information on the date of applying, prepare to apply.

This is probably the hardest but also the most fun part of a college application. Here are some useful tips to keep in mind while filling up the form and writing out your personal statement.

Understand the Question and Structure Your Responses

Don't try too hard. sS a student, you are not expected to be perfect, only truthful. When you decide to apply to a college, and eet their admission requirements too, be ready to be honest. Read through each page of the application form and try to answer in conscise sentences that convey your thoughts and ideas, and facts. 

The simpler your vocabulary, the easier it is to understand. It’s that easy.

You can go through sample application forms to get a better idea about what you need to write in your own form. But, remember to use them as a reference and never plagiarise! Structure your responses in a way that captures the reader's attention. Provide a strong personal statement. If possible, furnish letters of recommendation to support your personal story.

Avoid 1-Line Paragraphs

Applicants find it tempting to leave a 1-liner about themselves. After all, painstakingly going through each page of the application form can be tedious! However, the admissions committee will not be impressed. Professors and teachers can tell the difference between a well-planeed and well-thought-out application form from one that is rushed and abrupt.

List Out Extracurricular Activities

A combination of academic excellence and extracurricular activities is the perfect recipe for a college application. Reviewers love looking at a form that say "all-rounder!" Extracurricualr activities reflect personality traits of applicants that academic records cannot. During admissions, colleges are also looking at how prospective students can carry forward their legacy by bringing in laurels for the college. Remember, the perfect college application is a multifaceted document giving the reviewer a wholesome picture of who you are, beyond your academic prowess.

Get organised with your uni application
Read each page of your online application carefully to ensure you don't miss out important details. | Source: Pixabay

Edit, Proofread, and Ask for Feedback

Once you finish writing out the application, go through each page to check if you have answered each question. If needed, undertake revisions. However, the first answers are the most isntinctive. Proofread each word so that reviewers can't find fault with the language used, English or otherwise.

Ask your family or friends, even school teachers or your home tutor to review your application. They can give you neutral insights into what may be improved in your application. If needed, edit the form further. If not, proceed to apply!

Work on Your Personality

A successful person in today's world is usually one equipped with multiple skills. While you work to apply in your dream college or university for an undergraduate postgradiuate degree course, remember to hone your personal skills as well. If there is an interview following the entrance exam at college, your overall personality will create an impression on the admissions staff.

Valuable lessons such as competitiveness and sportsmanship are usually learned outside of the classroom. These skills can seldom be represented on a page of an application form. Therefore, work on developing these skills. When the time comes, they will push you ahead of the competition.

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Shreyanjana is an archaeologist who ironically finds the written word to be the most powerful means of storytelling. A travel buff and a photography enthusiast, she has been writing and sharing stories of all sorts ever since she can remember.