BONUS: “Top Three Tips for Admissions,” with Ineliz Soto-Fuller

Ineliz Soto-Fuller, the director of Undergraduate Admissions at Seattle Pacific University, shares her top three tips for applying to college.

Ineliz Soto-Fuller: Top three things for applying. This probably can work for any university, but I’m going to keep it to Seattle Pacific University specifically, so I think it’s really important to apply. Again, going back to a comment I made earlier, don’t be afraid to apply. You never know what will happen in terms of admission, how we’ll get to know you, what kinds of things you can bring to our community even if you think, “Oh man, that grade or that year was really bad”,” we get to make that decision and there’s lots of opportunities for you to share your story with us. So apply, and if cost is the concern, apply, because you don’t know what kind of financial aid you could be eligible for and how this place can be affordable for you. We work really hard to try to make affordability a priority for our students. So apply, even if you are doubting about it. That’s really important.

Number two is show us who you are. I think essays are probably the most intimidating part of the process for students. That is the thing that they get stuck on the most. The thing that they’re like, “What’s the magical thing I need to do in my essays to get me in?” I think the essays throughout my 13 years of working in admissions, the essays that stand out the most are the ones that feel really authentic to the student. The more a student can reflect who they are, their unique qualities, their passions, the better. But you do want to stay away from things that are really cliche. For example, the nursing and pre-meds always talk about how they want to help people through that profession. That’s why they want to become a doctor. That’s why they want to become a nurse because they want to help people.

1). Apply to SPU, and ask questions.

2). Show us who you are.

3). Apply for every scholarship you can.

Well, a lot of people want to help people. That’s great that you want to help people, but why? What about the field is so interesting? What about it sparked an interest? Why nursing? Why do you want to deal with bodily fluids? Yeah, I think just really using concrete examples in your essays, being as authentic as possible. We’ve had students who have shared poetry within their essay. We have students who have shared funny stories. We have students who have shared really, really, sometimes heart-wrenching stories about things that they’ve been through. It’s just really important to be honest and reflect your personality in those essays. I tell students, “This is the first time that you have an assignment that is all about you. It’s not about a book you read. It’s not about a person in history. It’s about you. So tell us about who you are and tell us what makes you and how you’re going to impact this community. That’s long tip number two.

Then I think tip number three, because cost is such a concern for students and families these days. There’s the application process that’s long and arduous and difficult. Ask questions by the way. That’s part of part one. Yeah. Ask questions along the way because we have all kinds of staff that are ready and willing and available to help you for free essentially. We will help you if you get stuck along the way. But because costs is such an important factor too, I give this tip during my admission presentations, when people come to visit, I say, “Apply for every scholarship under the sun.” We’re going to give you financial aid, we’re going to do our best to make it affordable, but anything else that you can get on top of that is just icing on the cake. It’s additional funds that you can use to either fulfill a gap in financial aid or just extra money that you can get to pay for books, to pay for your travel to come to campus. Who’s going to say no to money?

I think it’s really important to apply to everything that you can. I say even if it’s $500. I think to a student, they’re like, “I’m not going to spend time working on an application for a scholarship that’s $500. That’s like nothing.” Okay. Number one, that’s $500 that your parents don’t have to spend. Number two, it might take you an hour or two to fill out that application. You probably already have an essay you can recycle and use. That’s good money, $250 an hour is really good money. It might not be as competitive, so it might be easier to get that scholarship. And, if you currently have a job as a high school student and you’re getting paid minimum wage at that job, think about how many hours you would have to work to make $500.

So, apply for everything under the sun, even if it’s a small amount of money. You never know what you can get and those little bits of money really add up and help you to be successful in paying for college.

Amanda Stubbert: All right, so we’re going to apply and ask questions along the way. We’re going to be ourselves, as transparent as possible about who we really are and what we want to do, and then we’re going to do the work and apply for every scholarship we can.

Ineliz: Absolutely.

Amanda: All right, we’re going to do it. Thanks, Ineliz, thanks.


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