The College Application Process

The College Application Process

Autumn Chase

Applying to Colleges… Dun Dun Duh.

With it being the dreaded month of November, the month when many college applications are due, I figured I would help out seniors by making a checklist. If you or someone you know is applying for college, you could look at this article and see if you have completed the key steps to college application success. I have applied to seven colleges, and I am writing down the most important aspects of this process so you are not stuck deciphering long, complex articles online. Keep reading to find out if you are on the right track.


Step 1: Understanding Important Deadlines.

I can promise you, if, after endless hours of work, you submit your application before realizing the application deadline has passed, you will lose all motivation to continue
applying. The checklist below goes over what you should receive or accomplish before applying
~Understand and see what financial aid you qualify for
~Ask for multiple teachers to write you letters of recommendation
~Understand tuition costs for different colleges
~Look for many scholarships (it is almost a guarantee you will qualify for at least one)
~Research colleges based on your major, location, pricing, and your grades and test scores
After you have completed these tasks it is time to move on to filling out the Common Application and beginning your essay.


Step 2: What Platform Are You Using.

This step is a pretty easy one. You need to determine whether you are going to use the Common Application to apply or through that specific college’s website. I HIGHLY recommend using the Common Application. It keeps all of your applications together and it SAVES your work. I learned that the hard way when my applications not on the Common APP were not saved. I was about to break down until I found the Common APP.


Step 3: Research How To Write A Standout Essay.

The biggest part about college essays is being yourself because if you lie about your achievements, they will find out either in the future or possibly an interview, and, even after you graduate, they have the ability to revoke your degree. That would end horribly. Understanding different creative ways that you can write an essay will help you stand out against thousands of other applicants.


Step 4: Understanding The Non-Essay Portion.

Make sure you have all of your personal information accessible, such as your Social Security Number. Also, make sure to have score breakdowns of your SAT and ACT scores, which you can find on their websites. All of this information is key to the regular non-essay portion of the application. Make sure your counselor sends out your letters of recommendation as well. Use Naviance a TON. Make sure to complete your resume, letters of recommendation, and colleges I am applying to sections. You may choose to submit a resume as well, but it is not mandatory, especially if you have never worked before.

Step 5: College Application Fees.

When you begin applying, you may think well I can just apply everywhere, but that isn’t the case. Applying to college usually has a $50-$80 fee. That is so you don’t just apply everywhere and they can dictate who is really committed to their school. I would apply to between 5-7 colleges. Apply to one safety school (which you know you will get accepted to), 4-5 schools right at your criteria, and one school that may be a little out of reach. Apply for Honors Programs at the schools as well. They will usually offer you the ability to do so in the application.


Step 6: Waiting For Your Results.

After you apply, you may not get your results back for a couple of months. If you apply early action, you will hear back faster but may be required to promise that school you will go there. I recommend regular decision applications. Once you see where you got accepted, do college tours to make sure this place feels like home and has everything to offer for you.

I hope this helps! If you ever have questions, email your counselor. Good luck! You will do great!