For seniors, it’s one of the most stressful things that we have to do in our time as undergraduates: we basically have to apply for higher education a second time. Yet the stakes are insanely higher this time around, since getting into grad school can make or break your career. Wait… I’ve definitely heard that at least once a year since being born. But this time it’s really true! And you have to be sure you are showing off your assets as a grad school candidate in the best possible way. Luckily, I have all of the guidelines you need.

Your Resume

If you go to Career Services, they’ll tell you that you need a decked out resume to stand out from the crowd of other nerds that are also trying to continue their higher education. While I agree with this, I don’t believe that just using a fancy design for your header and going into great detail about each minute job and position you have ever had. Instead, you should jazz things up by sending your resume on the back of an autographed headshot of yourself. Then, not only will the admission committee be able to see what a sexy individual you are, but that you are also confident in yourself and your dashing good looks.

Letters of Recommendation

The rule of thumb is that you want your recommenders to have a good sense of your personal character, work ethic and reliability. The number varies for each program, but all of them want a diverse group of recommenders. I suggest you try to get as unconventional as possible. Ask your childhood babysitter. They definitely have had a plethora of experience in dealing with you and can provide a clear image of you even if it has been ten years since you last saw them. You can also ask a professor here at Trinity that you have never taken a course with or met in your time here. That professor will be so impressed with your gall to ask him or her such a thing, they will undoubtedly write you an excellent letter.

Personal Essay

This one is also easy. You’ve followed a prompt before, and you managed to write a decent enough essay to land you a spot at this great institution, so you shouldn’t worry too much. But, if you are still hyperventilating in your Chipotle to-go bag, write about your first imaginary friend, regardless of what prompt you are given. It will highlight your creativity and make you seem like a badass for going rogue. It will go over great with the admission committee, I promise.

In all seriousness though, I wish you the best of luck. I am your kindred spirit in paranoia concerning this life altering process. I too have eaten my weight in candy corn and soaked a ShamWow with my tears while applying. We’ve got this! Also, write handwritten thank you notes. I may be sounding like your mother, but it seriously will impress whomever you give one to, whether it is a recommender or your grandmother. Well, especially your grandmother.