Application Tips

Student on computer

General Application Tips

We know that preparing your college application can feel daunting – after all, it’s something you’ve never done before! Carve out enough time to work on your application at a comfortable pace, taking it one section at a time. Here are some helpful tips to get you started:

Follow Directions and Answer the Questions

The college application asks you a variety of questions, from demographic information to short-and mid-length writing samples. Be sure to stick to the word counts, answer the questions asked, and remember that we want to get to know YOU better. We are not trying to trick you or seek out a specific answer.

The Importance of Spellcheck (and Beyond)

As with any important piece of writing, it’s essential to spellcheck. But we also encourage you to write each section of the application then step away for a day or two before you revisit it. Seeing it with fresh eyes can help you to avoid careless mistakes (like copying/pasting an essay for another school into your application, or misspelling your school’s name), and ensure that you have truly answered the question being asked.

Meet Deadlines

Keeping track of college admission and financial aid deadlines requires organization! Add deadlines to your calendar, and set reminders in advance to be sure you stay on track. Some students find that organizing deadlines (and other admission-related tasks) into a spreadsheet is helpful. Find a system that works for you.

C0-curricular Section

The Scripps community is a hub of activity and culture, thanks to the varied perspectives and experiences our students bring. The co-curricular section is your chance to demonstrate how you’ve contributed to your community (and how you will do the same at Scripps), while developing yourself and your passions in the process. Remember that anything you’re actively involved in can be considered an extracurricular activity –from work experience to athletics, volunteering, or taking care of family members. One useful tip is to spell out or explain acronyms or club names that may not be easily understood. The last thing you want to do is confuse the person reading your application!

Letters of Recommendation

Ideally, your recommenders should be teachers you clicked with or individuals who taught you through a period of academic growth. A good question to ask potential recommenders is whether they are willing to write you a positive recommendation. At Scripps, we ask that your two recommenders be from different academic disciplines, and we recommend asking those who taught you in 10, 11, or 12th grade. Be sure to ask them early enough to give them time to construct a thoughtful letter on your behalf, and always write a thank you note or email.


A college interview is an opportunity for a representative from that school (at Scripps, it’s an admission staff member, current student, or alum) to get to know you better and answer your questions. It’s always helpful to reflect before a college interview. Most schools will ask why you are interested in that particular school, alongside questions related to your academic and co-curricular experiences and your goals for the future. Keep in mind that an interview is an opportunity for you to continue to assess whether a college may be a good match for you. Bring a few questions to ask your interviewer, and be yourself!

Additional Information Section

Many students do not use the Additional Information section, so don’t feel the need to fill this out unless necessary. This section is not a place to include a resume or provide an additional writing sample. Instead, if there is something that isn’t explained in your application that affected your academic performance or co-curricular involvement, you can write about it here.

Have Questions? Just Ask!

We know that you are learning to navigate the college admission process as you go, and our admission staff has over sixty years of combined experience. If you are confused about any part of the admission or financial aid process, please reach out with any questions.