Making an Application has gone for many years now without an update, so in August 2014, I decided to write a new guide that is more current with the application process.

I'm keeping this page up because most of the information here still works for pet applications. However, if you like this guide, check out my latest application guide here:

This guide (/~Skanzar) is better for a newbie audience than The Applicant's Handbook. If you are new to applications, I highly suggest reading this guide first and using the other as supplementation.

Page best viewed on Firefox 3+

Hello, and welcome to rawrimmakitty's guide to making an application! I, rawrimmakitty, have been applying for pets since the pound reopened in April 2008, but now that I'm "retired," I've decided to share my experience with you!

This page may or may not help you in the application process, depending on how much you already know about it beforehand. I wrote it targeting newer applicants, but it doesn't mean that the guide is limited to just them. All in all, I hope this page will help you with what you need, but if not, I wish you the best of luck finding a page that will.

Also, please remember that this guide isn't forcing you to do anything it says – it's just there to give you an idea of what to do. It's your application, not mine. :D

This application guide was solely written based on my experience with writing applications, and using this guide doesn't mean that you have a 100% chance of getting the pet you're applying for.

[intro to apps] [the basics] [the application] [the layout] [extras]
[designing a character] [content vs. layout] [the end]

What is the meaning of 'up for adoption'?
When a pet is up for adoption, it means that he/she is currently looking for a new owner and home. A pet adoption is different from pet trading. When a pet is UFA, you won't be "trading" a pet in return for the one up for adoption. Instead, you'll most likely have to make a pet application in order to adopt the pet, and chances are that you'll have competition for said pet as well.

Also, in some cases, pets are put up for quick adoption. You will read more about this in the next section.

What is a pet application?
A pet application is basically like an application for a job, except in this case, the "job" you're applying for is the future ownership of a Neopet that is currently up for adoption.

Why do you make pet applications?
Well, there are many reasons as to why someone would want to make a pet application. For one, you might not be able to trade for a certain dream pet that might be put up for adoption, whether it's because you don't have any pets "worth" the pet you wish to own in the future or because you simply don't want to trade. Perhaps you just prefer making applications over trading, too.

What is competition?
In most cases, more than one user will be applying for a pet that is up for adoption. If this is the case, then the users (who aren't you) are considered your competition. Be wary of your competition, but don't let it scare you.

How do you make an application?
That's basically what this guide is all about! There are two main types of pet applications: neomail and petpage. This page focuses more on petpage applications, but feel free to incorporate anything on this page into your neomail application (if you're doing a neomail one). You'll have to read on for more detail in making an application.

[intro to apps] [the basics] [the application] [the layout] [extras]
[designing a character] [content vs. layout] [the end]

Choosing a pet
The first step in making a pet application is choosing a pet to apply for. This is also the most important decision that has to be made when applying because your decision affects how well your application is going to turn out. It's necessary to choose a pet that you love and one that gives you enough "drive" to complete an application. Go for your dream pet or perhaps even a pet whose name you really like, but it'd be wise not to go for a pet only because of its rarity. Make sure that this pet really is "the one."

Neopound is a great place to visit if you're looking for UFA pets.

When you see a pet that interests you, make sure that you read all of the adoption rules for the pet first before starting on your application. Not all fosters think alike – some require these special acts prior to creating an application, some only want certain users to apply, and some just don't plain care what you do as long as you get things in before the deadline. It'd be a real shame if you worked long hours on your application only to find out that you accidentally broke one of the foster's rules and was immediately disqualified for the pet. Remember: Make sure to read the rules first.

It's also best to keep in mind that you'll almost always have competition when applying for a pet, no matter how little or big it is. Some pets, like draiks, krawks, and unconverted pets, often have more competition than that of a "regular" converted pet. If you're afraid of competition, or if this is your first time making an application, it's recommended to avoid these pets because of the sheer difficulty it is to keep motivated when you have so much competition at hand.

My friend, Arya, also said, "And though your first inclination may be to immediately click on that ever-elusive 'rare' pet and begin an application just for the sake of having a rare pet, that never is the best choice. You need to choose a pet that inspires you, so your application turns out well, with a great deal of heart and thought put into it. I mean, how painful would it be to work on an application for a pet whose character you don't even care for? First lesson: Character comes first, then application."

A good way to know if you really want to apply for a pet is to wait a week after you see it. If, by the time that week is over, you still have inspiration, go for it!

Types of Applications
Once you have chosen a pet, it's time to make the actual application. There are many different types of applications, but the two most common ones are neomail and petpage applications.

Neomail applications are simple text applications. Full-blown stories, designs, and artwork aren't included in a neomail application; the point of them is to keep things as short as possible. Most users break up their neomail applications into different parts, but excessive applications that include sixteen different neomails is not recommended. Personally, whenever I exceed a three-neomail character limit, I put everything onto a petpage, but I don't add any artwork or anything to it. Just the text!

There is an advantage to neomail applications though. Some fosters prefer neomail them over petpage applications because they can't be distracted by pretty images and the like. Instead, they can focus on the applicant's account(s) and how well he/she takes care of his/her current pets.

A petpage application is much more complicated than a neomail one. Given its name, a petpage application is hosted on a pet's homepage, or petpage, and in some cases, multiple ones. Petpage applications normally have layouts and artwork to them. Also, because there is no character limit on a petpage, they often include bits and pieces of stories (if not the entire thing) written for the particular pet it's dedicated to. A lot more detail can be put into a petpage application, but it doesn't necessarily make it a 100% "win" over neomail applications. As said in the explanation for neomail applications, some fosters prefer judging applicants through how well they take care of their current pets instead of judging only on how 'good' their application was.

This guide was written mainly for petpage applications, but a good neomail application guide can be found on perle_de_crystaux's petpage.

Quick Adoptions
Sometimes, when pet owners do not wish to dedicate their time into hosting an application process that will take a few months to complete, they will put their pets up for quick adoption. Quick adoptions tend to last only one or two weeks, or in some cases, even in the same day! When this happens, you'll need to do your best in trying to stand out to the owner in the little time you have.

A great guide to UFqA pets can be found on Nap's petpage.

[intro to apps] [the basics] [the application] [the layout] [extras]
[designing a character] [content vs. layout] [the end]

There is an overall basic structure for every application that is made, no matter if it is neomail or petpage. In applications, the most basic sections are (though I wrote the guide in this order, it doesn't mean that you have to do the same; just organize things in the way you see best fit):

It's important to have an introduction so that the foster doesn't get an "IN YOUR FACE" feeling when he/she first reads your application. An introduction doesn't have to be very long – just a few paragraphs, or even one. Introduce yourself, give your name, talk about the contents of your application... anything. Just make sure that it gradually leads the reader into your application.

About Me
Normally, applicants start out with a little information about themselves. It's usually split up into two parts: you on Neopets and you everywhere else. For this section, just write a few sentences about yourself, a few things about you (like your hobbies, real life pets, etc), your account history (past punishments, current accounts, etc) to give the foster a taste of who you are. Be sure not to write an entire novel about yourself! It's good for the foster to know a little about you, but he/she most likely doesn't want to know you inside-out.

Why the Pet
This section also doesn't have to be too long, but it's also a good idea to make it at least a few sentences long. What you want to say here is why you chose the pet you're applying for and why you want him/her. Did you decide to apply because of the pet's name? Is he/she your dream pet? Honesty is the key here (well... honesty is the key to everything, really).

Why Me
This is generally just a few paragraphs (or just one; depends on how much you want to write) long. Like the 'about me' section, you don't want to make this too long or make it seem like you're making up things to make yourself look good. Try to keep humble - address both sides of what you do, for example.

If you plan on including a 'why not me' section to go with this, keep in mind that criticizing yourself on everything you do also isn't recommended. It's good to be modest, but when you make yourself look like the worst person possible, that isn't good.

Future Plans
Somewhere in the application, have a future plans section explaining what's in store for the pet if he/she came home with you. Are you going to draw him/her? Roleplay? List anything you think you might do, but please make sure you have proof, whether it be for the pet you're applying for or shown through your current pets. This section should be at least a few sentences.

Lastly, you'll want to have a conclusion to end your application. This is recommended so that your application doesn't end abruptly without a word of thanks or anything normally put into a conclusion. Just bring things to a close with this section; it doesn't necessarily have to be very long.

- - -

It's important to (at least) include these sections so that the foster can get to know you a bit better. It gives them an idea of who you are beyond the application as well. It's also a good idea to talk to the foster casually outside of the application process, but don't try too hard! Some fosters don't want to make new friends, and it can also get annoying if you keep trying to become friends with them.

Of course, not all applications stop at just that. As said before, the above six sections are just basic attributes found in applications. A lot of applicants go beyond just the basics though; normally, they include some form of artwork and story to their application - it makes things more interesting for the reader. And some applicants go even beyond that! It's limitless, what you can do for an application. Be creative; that's one of the best parts of applying.

Artwork can be done through pencil and paper, photoshop, or anything else. In most petpage applications, applicants show at least one piece of artwork that they've done in dedication to the pet they are applying for. Some even go beyond that and create a unique design for said pet. This is a one-of-a-kind look that only that character has. From experience, fosters really like unique designs done for their pets. Also, it doesn't matter how "good" your artwork is! As long as you try, the foster will appreciate the effort.

Usually, applicants write stories to go along with the pet they're applying for. Some of these stories take place outside of Neopia, the world dedicated just to Neopets, and some of them also take place inside of it. The setting is up to you, the plot, everything. Your imagination is the key to writing a good story; go wild! You're in power here (but remember to follow the rules).

At the moment, we have to move on, but if you want more detail on pet designs, click here.

[intro to apps] [the basics] [the application] [the layout] [extras]
[designing a character] [content vs. layout] [the end]

In order to make petpage applications more appealing to read, a layout is necessary. Layouts on Neopets are limited though; in order to help close security loops, Neopets only allows hypertext markup language (HTML) and cascading style sheets (CSS) to be used on its user-editable pages, and even then, there are limits on what you can do. Don't let that scare you though! There are plenty of amazing things you can do, even within the Neopets filters.

You don't have to be able to code amazing petpage layouts, too. Even a simple CSS layout is enough to make the page look a lot better than the default, and if you cannot code, there are plenty of premade petpage layouts out there; they shouldn't be hard to find!

Even if there are premade layouts for you to use, a lot of fosters prefer handmade layouts because it shows that you are willing to go the extra mile for the pet. Like art, you don't have to be good at making layouts; it's if you try that truly counts. Below is a rough guide on making layouts, but if you already have a layout, then feel free to move on to the next section. :)

Designing a Layout
Many factors come into play when making a layout; the content placement, images, color scheme, font, everything. In order for a layout to be effective, you must keep everything in mind, but don't be intimidated! Designing a good layout actually isn't hard because even if you're new to layouts, there's already sort of a natural instinct that covers most of the complications of a layout. Still, it's best to stick to simpler layouts when you're new so that you don't overwhelm yourself.

Let's start things off with the basic layout design. There are many different kinds of layouts, but the most common ones found on petpages are blog layouts and scrolling layouts.

Blog layouts are layouts that have blogs, also called a text box. There are a lot of ways to design a blog layout; some layouts have an image to the right or left of the text box, some text boxes are inside the images, et cetera. Some prefer making these layouts because the box that contains the page's contents is a lot smaller and makes things seem like they're closer together. Here are a few basic designs for blog layouts:

(click and drag to address bar for full size)

Scrolling layouts are layouts in which the main content of the page isn't contained within a scrolling text box. These layouts often include tables or divisions (DIVs) that don't have a closing tag. With scrolling layouts, there is normally an image at the top or to the side of the content (most layouts don't use the entire width of the page, but rather a thinner one so that it isn't hard to read). The thing about these layouts that makes them preferred is that, unlike the blog layout, things are a lot more spread apart. Some find this refreshing and easier to read because they're not limited to just one little box. These are the basic designs of scrolling layouts:

(click and drag to address bar for full size)

Color Schemes
Once you have chosen a design for your layout, you must choose a color scheme for it. Your color choices will help decide on the overall mood of the page from the very beginning.

An important aspect to all layouts is the type of font used. The color has to have enough contrast with the background so that it isn't hard for the visitor to read; have light backgrounds with dark text (dark backgrounds with light text are not recommended, but they work too). The size of the text is also very significant – too small of text is hard to read for some readers, but too big of text is distracting. Try to stay within a 11px – 16px font.

There are two major categories to fonts as well: serif and sans-serif. Serif fonts are fonts that have "little feet" (called serifs) at the ends of the letters. Sans-serif fonts are fonts that don't have serifs. Generally, you should stick to sans-serif fonts for layouts because it's slightly easier to read on-screen. It doesn't mean that you shouldn't use a serif font though – it's your preference, but stick to one of those two for your main body text.

More decorative fonts, like cursive, should not be used as main body text though. It's understandable that you'd want to use a "prettier" font, but it also makes the text a lot harder to read. Decorative fonts are okay when using them as headers, but always make the headers into a graphic of some sort – another downfall to decorative fonts is that they aren't always installed on other users' computers, so a graphic will guarantee that your special font will always be viewed.

Images in your Layout
Many layouts involve the use of images in order to make things more interesting. The thing to remember with images is that you want to keep the images as small as possible in file size so that it doesn't take a very long time for the page to load.

In many cases, if a page takes too long to load, the visitor will lost interest and move onto a page that doesn't take as long. If your page contains many images, it's recommended to make a note somewhere on the page that the page is "image heavy" so that the visitor will know beforehand.

There are three main graphic file formats for you to choose from when uploading an image to the internet (that are guaranteed to show up on the visitor's browser). These three are GIFs, JPGs, and PNGs.

Image File Size
While it's tempting to save every image as a PNG and make things easier for you, the file size of it, depending on the actual size of the image, is also a key factor. PNG is not the answer for everything.

Recommended for GIF:

Recommended for JPG:

Recommended for PNG:

Designing with Comps
A good way to plan out your future layout is to design a comp, or a comprehensive layout. A comp basically shows what your layout is going to look like before you actually create the images and code it. Creating a comp isn't necessary, but it does help organize things a lot better. It also makes things a lot easier if you're a more visual person (like me).

An average comp is 980px by 575px because that is the approximate size of the area "above the fold" for the 1024px by 768px screen resolution. Normally, it includes the basic look of the layout, where images/content will go, the width of things, font size/color, et cetera. You can put anything on a comp, really – it's for your own personal use! Here's the comp that was used for the application guide; please note that the navigation planned didn't work on Internet Explorer, so it was replaced with text navigation. Also, your comp doesn't have to look exactly like this - it's just how mine are.

(click and drag to address bar for full size)

Lorem Ipsum
Another very helpful tool that many users use is Lorem Ipsum text. Lorem Ipsum is dummy text – it doesn't have any particular meaning to it (kind of like "TEXT HERE TEXT HERE" and its other variations). This is used whenever you want to test out how a font looks on a particular page or how well a scrollbar works or looks.

This is five paragraphs of Lorem Ipsum if you want to use it:

[intro to apps] [the basics] [the application] [the layout] [extras]
[designing a character] [content vs. layout] [the end]

Just as the title says, this section is completely optional for applicants that want to go "above and beyond" with their application. It isn't necessary to read what's past this section – it's just here if you want to read it... A few pointers, you might say.

Having a few pieces of giftart is a nice addition to your application, but it definitely isn't necessary. Giftart is artwork drawn of your character by others, but it's often hard to get. One reason is that you might end up not getting the pet, and the giftart would go to waste (if you don't plan on remaking the character); this is why a lot of artists don't draw art for applications.

Another reason is that it's extremely annoying to be pestered for art. Asking politely is the most effective way to get giftart, but make sure that you don't make the artist feel rushed. Otherwise, he/she would probably do a sloppy job on the art or you might not even get it! Also remember that whoever draws you giftart is doing you a favor; be happy with what you get~

If you do decide to include giftart in your application, just remember that giftart does not replace original art done by you. While it's nice to have a few pieces of giftart, don't depend on it as your main source of artwork - do your own because that's what the foster really cares about.

Like giftart, adoptables are small pieces of artwork done by users for the use of others. Adoptables are usually pictures that are drawn once and saved as a template to color in multiple times (often done to look like every color of the Neopet the adoptable is drawn of), and they're often used to break up blocks of text. These aren't as tedious to do as giftart, but the same principles apply here - avoid excessive requests, don't rush the artist, etc.

Having your own is plus too. Drawing a template is simple, and you can even do it on MS Paint! First, draw a template and name it anything you'd like, then color it in to look like any of the Neopet's colors and save it as something else. Reopen the template and do it again and again until you're satisfied or done with all of the colors!

It's also recommended that if you have your own set, offer to do a trade so that the other user doesn't feel like you're just taking advantage of his/her generosity. And like giftart, don't depend on adoptables as the art for your application; it's what you draw that really counts - these are just extras.

If you cannot find anyone willing to make you a custom adoptable, then coloring in a makeable provided for you is also an option. These are like adoptables, except instead of the original artist filling in the template, you do.

Makeables are blank adoptable templates drawn specifically for the purpose of others coloring them in. All you have to do is right-click on the makeable image, paste it into MS Paint (or whatever art editing program you use), and color it in! Just keep in mind that adoptables are not makeables; don't use an adoptable on accident!

Makeables are similar to giftart and adoptables in the way that they're redundant; even if you think you cannot draw well, try anyway because that's what really matters in an application.

Some applicants dedicate certain things on their accounts to the pets that they're applying for. For example, generally, users make neoboard fonts in dedication to their application. In other cases, some even dedicate their userlookups to the pets, shops and galleries even. If you plan on making any dedications to your pet, be sure to have a screenshot or link of it in your application; if not, the foster might miss it.

It's important to keep your application organized so that things don't get too confusing. When you're first starting your application, writing a checklist to see what you need to do is a nice way to keep things organized. Check off what you've done while you're working and keep in mind what you still have to do. As for the application itself, a lot of applicants separate their application into two parts – the future petpage for the pet (if the applicant is planning on creating a character for the pet) and the actual application.

Here are a few basic checklists if you can't seem to think of anything:

basic detailed two-part

Another thing about organization: it's not recommended to use too many smilies (:D, ^^, xP, etc) while writing your application. Your goal is to impress the reader with your application, and though it may look okay to you, too many smilies makes things look messy and unprofessional.

Proper Behavior
Maintaining proper behavior both inside your application and outside is very important when you're applying for a pet. Flaming, harassing, trolling, spamming, stealing, et cetera is highly frowned upon by both fosters and applicants alike (well... frowned upon by everyone, really). Not only does maintaining proper behavior make you look "good" and "mature" to the owner, but it also prevents a lot of redundant drama.

It's important to steer clear from drama. If there are instabilities between you and others, try and work things out peacefully; don't immediately result to attacking. Of course, not everything is listed above; use your common sense, and you'll be fine.

A great guide to neoboard etiquette can be found on Cultured's petpage!

Application Critiques
When you've finished your application, or even while you're working on it, getting constructive criticism from the Pound Chat is recommended. Some users there will be able to tell you what you can do improve your application, as well as compliment on what you did well.

However, in order to get the most from this practice, try to avoid going on number rating boards. Most of the time, that's just what they are: number ratings. The reason why I'm personally against number rating boards is because application critiques shouldn't be meant for an ego trip. If that's just what you're looking for, then there's no real reason to ask for critiques in the first place.

Also, remember that when you're asking for a critique, you should be polite with the criticizer because they're doing you a favor by looking at your application. Whenever someone critiques something for you, they're going off of their experience and personal views instead of your own - that's what makes them effective. If you don't agree with something the person says, keep it quiet and ignore that part of the critique.

Normally, I would offer a critiquing service, but I'm currently down to my last few weeks of school, and I must focus on my studies for now. Sorry, everyone! ^^;

This is an issue that many applicants have, whether it is overconfidence or having too little. Having confidence is vital to a successful application – you have to have confidence in your application, otherwise it'd be pointless to turn it in, but having too much will make it seem like you're arrogant. Yes, you may love the pet you're applying for, and yes, it may seem the "best" to you of all of the accepted applications, but nothing is ever decided before the final decision is announced. In the end, it's up to the owner to decide whose application "wins" the pet that is up for adoption, and that decision is only for the owner to make.

Remember this because in my opinion, it's what causes many great applicants to go downhill.

[intro to apps] [the basics] [the application] [the layout] [extras]
[designing a character] [content vs. layout] [the end]

Plenty of applications include a character of some sort that is unique to the pet that is being applied for. It's something that a lot of fosters look forward to, even if they cannot require it, and it's also one of the most fun (in my opinion) things to think of when applying for a pet.

Brainstorming for a Design
Of course, in order to have a character, you must first think of a basic idea for the design. Is the pet the most famous astronaut on Neopia? Is he/she the superstar of Terror Mountain? Or perhaps the pet is ACTUALLY Dr. Sloth in disguise! Your character is for you decide on your own, with your own creativity. Don't hold back (but keep in mind Neopets' rules); it'll be fun! In most of my cases, my most favorite ideas came to me in the strangest of situations; find out what sparks your creative genius!

Physical Designs
With a character design comes another unique concept that goes along with it – a physical design. A physical design is what makes your character look different from the rest. Most designs come in two main forms: anthro (AKA biped/humanoid) and quad (AKA quadruped/animal/feral).

Anthro describes humans with animal characteristics. Anthro (on Neopets) is the blanket term for biped characters, or characters that walk on two legs. Quad is the term used for regular animals (normally the animal that the species of pet represents). It is the blanket term for all animal characters, even if they don't have four legs (quad = four).

For the colors, accessories, everything, that's up to you! Simple designs are nice, but too simple of designs make things a bit boring (unless you can explain why it's so simple). Complicated designs are more tedious to draw though, so somewhere in between the two would be most effective.

Another important thing to add to your character design is personality. What peeves your character? Does he/she like fishcakes (don't ask; I don't know. o_o)? The thing with this is that you want to stay away from "perfect" characters, often called Mary Su and Gary Lu (sometimes Gary Stu). Be creative; make your character unique!

Planning out a Story
As said before, most unique character designs include some form of history for the pet, whether it's just a few paragraphs describing his/her history or a full-blown short story. You can set it up however you want; just one chapter, multiple chapters, parts, anything, and what happens in that story is also up to you. Add what you want, avoid what you don't, but just make sure to have fun while you're doing all of this. It'd be rather pointless if not, ne? Oh and just keep in mind that writing a story for your character isn't necessary, and don't be afraid if your writing isn't the best – as long as you try, that's what counts.

Many applicants plan on roleplaying their pets as well. Roleplay is the collaboration between two or more persons in order to create a story, often without a set plot. Like physical designs, there are mainly two subcategories to choose from: anthro and quad. If you plan on roleplaying the pet, then provide the owner with an example of two of a roleplay between you and a friend. Roleplaying also isn't necessary for your character.

[intro to apps] [the basics] [the application] [the layout] [extras]
[designing a character] [content vs. layout] [the end]

A popular topic for debate is how important the content and artwork of an application really is. This is my personal opinion on the matter.

The good thing about the writing content in an application is that if you write a lot, it'll look like you spent a fair amount of time on your application, but on the other hand, it may seem overwhelming to the reader upon first look if there are tons of blocky paragraphs to read. With writing, your imagination draws the pictures for you, whereas in artwork, things are drawn out for you. Another thing is that some owners don't like reading a lot, but to the average reader, lots of writing (especially good writing) is very important to him/her.

It's true that having a good layout is important in order to keep the interest of readers, but fancy layouts can sometimes be very distracting to the reader, making it hard to focus on the content. Artwork is nice to look at, and it's said that every picture is worth a thousand words. It's also up to the viewer to interpret what's happening in the picture – not like in writing, where everything is written out beforehand. Some fosters prefer artists because they want their pets to be drawn and entered into the beauty contest.

Writing is important to someone who considers him/herself "art-challenged" and drawing is what artists lean on while making an application. That's perfectly natural for this to happen, but while playing your strengths is important in an application, you also have to remember that in order to keep things most effective, a proper balance between the two is necessary.

In other words, writing and artwork of an application share equal roles. Good writing makes an application nice, as does good artwork, but having a combination of the two is what makes things nicest.

[intro to apps] [the basics] [the application] [the layout] [extras]
[designing a character] [content vs. layout] [the end]

Link Back!
Did you like this page? Show your support by linking back to it!

Thanks to Spade for the above two buttons! :D

It seems that you've reached the end of my application guide. Hopefully it helped you, and if it didn't, I sincerely apologize for this inconvenience. If there was something you think I missed in this guide, please send me a neomail about what you think should be added. What's written right now isn't everything about applications, and my goal with this guide is to make the the most helpful it can be. Thank you.

~ Dorothy (rawrimmakitty)

Do not, in any way, copy this page; any form of theft will not be tolerated. I won't hesitate to take this page down if things get too out of hand.

Last updated - April 29, 2011.

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