Brigham Young University: the dream school of over 13,700 annual applicants. Hundreds of those hopeful high schoolers will come from Utah Valley this year, and all of them will have to mind a new deadline.
BYU Admissions moved the application deadline for the fall 2019 semester to Dec.15 of this year. In past years applicants could hit a priority deadline in December or a final deadline in February, but this crop of prospective students must submit their applications before Christmas. In other words, it’s time to start gathering recommendations and writing essays to be on the positive side of that 53 percent acceptance rate.
Whether you’re hovering over the submit button or haven’t yet clicked “Apply Now,” here are some tips and tricks for your BYU application.
1. Know the myths.
In September, BYU Admissions posted eight short videos debunking myths about the BYU application process. The videos explain why higher academic scores don’t necessarily guarantee acceptance and that knowing a professor doesn’t beef up an application.
2. Have an editor.
Have someone with a good grasp of grammar proofread your essays when applying to any school — not just BYU. Even professional writers have editors, so why shouldn’t you?
3. Communicate with your recommendations.
Make sure to choose people for your recommendations who will say good things about you. The application requires four recommendations: an ecclesiastical leader; your seminary teacher; a math, English or science teacher from your junior or senior year; and someone else unrelated to you. Once you’ve chosen your recommenders wisely, tell them before that you are applying to BYU and would like their support through a glowing recommendation.
4. Maximize your application.
When applying for a school sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, applicants fill out one application, pay a fee and can submit their application to any CES school. For each of the four schools — BYU, BYU-Idaho, BYU-Hawaii or LDS Business College — there is a $35 application fee. So you might as well cast your academic net wide and keep your options open.
5. Tailor your essays.
To communicate to the admissions office that you are serious and invested about BYU, demonstrate in your essays that you are familiar with the programs offered at the school. So do your homework about the opportunities for students with your major. Find out what’s special about the department your major is housed in. Research the professors who teach the classes you’ll take. Then write about whatever you’ve researched that gets you excited about becoming a Cougar.
6. Serving a mission? Apply anyway.
Don’t put off applying for college even if you plan to serve an LDS mission first.Your high school teachers and counselors are often willing to help you research the school, fill out your applications and polish your essays. But after graduation, these resources are less available to you. Once you’ve received an acceptance letter and a mission call, BYU has provided a checklist to follow to complete your deferment application.
7. Fill out FAFSA.
This is a government form that is the preliminary step to applying for federal grants and loans. Even if you don’t plan on applying for federal financial aid, filling out FAFSA is required for need-based scholarships from the school.
8. Apply for scholarships now.
The scholarship application is a separate process from applying to BYU. Keep in mind that the deadline is Dec. 15, the same day the entrance application deadline.
9. Follow the the admissions office.
On their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, BYU Admissions posts updates about application deadlines and when to check your portal to see if they accepted your application. To be in the know, follow.
10. Bonus tip: Get ready.
After you’ve received your acceptance letter, use this checklist for all the things you need to do before the first day of school.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that “there is no change in cost if an applicant applies for just BYU or to all four schools.” We’ve updated the story to show that applicants pay a $35 fee for each school they apply to.