So, what exactly do I need to do
to apply for college, and when
should I do these things????
Instructions: (You know, the “stuff” you are SUPPOSED to read in order to know
what you need to do!)
Things You'll Need:
A computer or good ole' fashioned pen & paper for application and essay
A flexible schedule during summer months / school year.
1. Step 1
Research colleges that interest you! (Online, your school library and the
College Fair which usually takes place in the fall at Cashman Field)
You first and foremost need to do a little research. There are typically
plenty of college fairs and various college representatives that go around
different high schools recruiting. Take the time to take in the facts and
views from these sources if you are not particularly focused on getting into
a certain college.
Make sure to look into all aspects of these schools. Besides just classes, pay
particular attention to dorm life, possibilities to room off campus, possible
sports, Greek life, etc.
Even if you do have an idea of where you want to apply to, if something
catches your eye, look into it! You may find out your dream school really isn't
the fit you need!
2. Step 2
Consider the details and options!
Once you have a list of possible colleges, look into their application process:
- Can you apply online?
- Can you apply early decision? Is this process binding?
- What are the typical things this certain college looks for?
- Statistics and breakdowns of past classes (ACT scores, SAT scores,
Average GPA, Average class rankings, etc).
- Critical dates and deadlines for applying.
3. Step 3
Start the application process as early as possible.
Get in on the application process! Make sure to fill out everything correctly,
and submit whatever attachments are requested with the application. If
possible, apply online for the assurance that your application will not get
"lost in the mail" on the way to its destination.
If the college requires essays, make sure to complete those and attach them
with your application. If given the choice, write as many quality essays as
possible. Though cliche, never sacrifice quality for quantity!
4. Step 4
Set up an interview with admissions if possible.
Some colleges require an in-person interview, while others may have an
optional one or none at all. If it is possible to travel to the campus, have an
interview. These events allow for the admissions staff to put a name to the
application, and even make a personal connection with you.
It is a simple fact of life: A good impression during an interview can
sometimes "tip the scales" in your favor if you may be lacking in other parts
of your application.
Make sure to dress nice and show up well groomed.
5. Step 5
Visit schools you are accepted or expect acceptance from.
Though this is step five, the process of visiting schools can start before you
even apply for schools or be after you get accepted.
Make sure to visit the campus of schools you are interested in if possible
before accepting and try to stay overnight at least once. There are many
students who transfer schools after their first semester or year simply
because they didn't like the atmosphere or people.
6. Step 6
Wait with confidence!
Wait for the acceptance letters to come in! Don't sell yourself short if you
have the chance to accept one school, but have not heard from other
possible ones. Make sure to get an answer from all options, and don't be
afraid to call admissions offices if you do not hear from them via postal
7. Step 7
Enjoy the best months of the high school years.
Finally, just relax and enjoy the ride. Applying for college is both an exciting
and stressful point in one's life. But with proper preparation and
organization, it can be smooth sailing.
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Tips & Warnings
To enhance your application, it's always good to be active in school and your
community. It doesn't mean you have to fill up all those slots under Clubs or
Volunteer work. Pick an activity you enjoy, be active in it, and give it an
honest effort. College acceptance boards will look favorably on an activity
you put a lot into rather than many which you hardly know anything about.
Some schools have scholarship opportunities during the application process.
Be sure to fill those out as well should you come across them.
Military academies in the United States have a very extensive application
process that should be looked at during the early months of junior year. Plan
If paying for college is a roadblock, look into various ROTC programs. Most
provide substantial financial assistance with tuition, books, and even pay
monthly stipends for additional "spending money."
Some schools offer early decision and early acceptance. Make sure to pay
particular attention to what the school in question offers. Early decision can
sometimes be binding and require you to pay a fee to withdraw an appoint
should you be accepted, while early acceptance typically just allows for you
to be accepted in the fall previous to your graduation.
Try as much as possible to apply to lots of schools. While application fees
may run expensive, you want to give yourself options in case you do not get
into a certain school.