Every successful college career begins with a successful application. But no matter how nice your handwriting or how profound your essays, the only benchmark for success in the college application game is whether or not you get in. Coulda talked about your community service instead of your school play? Woulda applied to a few more safety schools? Shoulda taken a personal tour without your parents yakking about when they were freshmen? Don’t wait ‘til after you get in—here’s what college students wish they’d known before applying.

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