Poor Handwriting on College Applications

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Poor Handwriting on College Applications
By Backhandgrip (Backhandgrip) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 08:41 am: Edit

Son's handwriting on these college applications is poor. It is readable but poor. Does it matter? Should I do neat block letter writing? I think not- it should be all his effort, right?Am I obsessing again?

By Backhandgrip (Backhandgrip) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 09:12 am: Edit

Or should we do this on the computer then print and send? But we have these other applications here- it's such a waste of paper.If he wants to just print it out in longhand- does it matter?

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 09:37 am: Edit

It probably doesn't matter when it comes to things like safeties, particularly safeties that are numbers driven as many state universities are.

When it comes to reach schools and even some match schools, anything that your son can do to stand out in a good way will help him. Adcoms literally look at thousands of applications, and the review of each application may take about 10 minutes. I suggest explaining to your son that anything he (not you) can do to stand out in a good way is to his advantage.

You also might mention that the same principle holds for job and scholarship applications.

If you look on the CC boards, a couple of days ago, there was a thread about handwriting applications that got lots of responses.

And I don't think it's a waste of paper to use a computer to make the applications look good. You are working on how your son plans to spend the next 4 years of his lifel Isn't the effort and small expense worth it?

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 09:52 am: Edit

Brown is the only school I've heard of that asks for the essay to be handwritten. And even they say that if your handwriting is awful, tell them and type up your essay.

My kids both did answers to questions on the computer and then pasted them neatly onto the paper app.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 10:53 am: Edit

Aparent, while Brown used to ask for handwritten essays, that is no longer the case. My D applied last year and those no longer were the directions but I had heard of that in the past.

BHG: My daughter hand printed the basic one line information on the blanks such as names, school, parents, test scores, etc. For every short answer question or list (work experience, summers, senior year courses, short paragraph answers, etc), she typed it on the computer and then cut and pasted it onto the application. This was neater and also fit the information on better. All essays of course, were typed and attached, as was the "resume" and cover letter.

Even though I think it is fine to hand write the basic blank questions (as my D did), in your son's case, I would NOT have him do it. You don't want anything on his app to be difficult to read! Options for him would be to sit with you as you handwrite those answers in that he tells you. Another would be for him to even type and paste in simple short things like addresses, as my D did with the longer answers. Or he could fill it out online and then print it and send. Even for the very short things my D did by hand, she did them very neatly, putting a lot of time into making sure she did. Sometimes she wrote the answer in pencil first to make sure it fit on just right. Sloppy handwriting does not work in this situation. That is why he either must type/cut/paste it on, type the whole app on a computer, or have you handwrite in those brief data questions but if you do this latter suggestion, he should be there with you. So, he still is doing it with a transcriber and it is not like you are doing it for him. I recall when my D had to fit in the name of my graduate school and the one of my husband's, the names were long for a very short line and she asked if I could write that one line in for her as she was not sure she could do it well. That is not like doing their app FOR them, she was right there and doing it herself and I helped on something with which she needed assistance.


By Cangel (Cangel) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 01:45 pm: Edit

I'm a little confused, because my children's school wants all schoolwork like essays typed, we never considered handwriting anything.
I was going to buy my daughter some high quality printer paper, and print out her essays, applications, and CVs - I think all of her schools had downloadable supplements. Is this a bad idea? I was going to take her to work one weekend with her stuff on a disc so she could use the "big" laser printer that is very high quality.

I think her school may prefer to package apps for the students - you bring in your apps, checks, etc, they add sealed recs and bundle the whole thing up for you - I'll find out in the next couple of weeks.

If they don't want to see her apps first, we were going to submit as many as possible online - I just assumed that was what colleges preferred.

In my line of work we handle large quantities of demographic data - names, addresses, etc - any information we can receive directly from another computer is a godsend - nothing to enter - and the error rate on direct ADT info is much lower?
AM I messing up here?

By Backhandgrip (Backhandgrip) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 02:45 pm: Edit

I guess it depends on the college.I think you are right Cangel and others.We will do it by computer.I know there must be many threads concerning this topic but we are dealing with the here and now.Thank you.

By Dadofsam (Dadofsam) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 06:17 pm: Edit

Backhandgrip: we went through the process last year. It's a somewhat sad and somewhat sobering fact, but at this time, irrespective of what is contained in some books on admissions, irrespective of what some colleges used to require or prefer, irrespective of students' or parents' opinions as to what makes an application look aesthetic or personal or unique,

EVERY person in EVERY admissions office to whom we spoke or from whom we heard presentations said the same thing: please, please, please apply online.

Admissions officers are human, and they do like to see differences in applications. But they have come to accept and even (they say) be thankful for the advantages of downloadable applications, when they have had to deal with a rapidly increasing number of applications in the same time frame as previously and without a lot of additional help.

Everyone's application data is now entered and stored in the schools' databases and online applications makes their task much easier and also ensures that any errors in the application are not the product of the admissions' office's mistakes in entering data.

Sometimes the application forms have to be worked with to get all the necessary information into the space provided, but attachment pages are generally allowed.

And if your S's handwriting is anything like mine, everyone involved will appreciate the clarity of the printout.

The recs and other materials will still arrive on paper (at least for now), and will be put in a file with a printout of the application.

Good luk with your S's applications.

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