How to Apply for College
A high school student doesn’t realize what stress is before the time for college applications comes. You thought you would just need to make a choice, fill in a form or two, and wait for the big envelope to arrive. Unfortunately, the process of college application involves much more than that. You need to understand the admission requirements of the schools you are applying to, gather a lot of information, fill in more detailed forms than you expected, and meet all deadlines.
The following tips will encourage you go through the process of college applications with a strategic approach. With the assumption that you’ve already narrowed down your choices and know which colleges you’re going to apply to, you can start following the tips below.
Create a timeline
It’s never too early to start planning the college application process. Consider the deadlines of the schools of your choice and make sure to develop a timeline that organizes your activities in a more relaxed manner. You won’t be happy if you leave everything for the last minute.
Create a checklist of all you need to do and impose deadlines on yourself.
Understand what documents you need
College applications are associated with a lot of documentation. You’ll need to submit several things to each college you apply to: an application, SAT or ACT score report, high school transcript, personal statement or application essay, and letters of recommendation.
Once you realize what your application should include, you can start tackling one section at a time.
Fill in the application carefully
Most colleges enable you to submit paper documentation or apply online, as you prefer. Depending on the institution’s requirements, you will need to provide some basic information about you, your educational achievements, scores on standardized tests, awards, extracurricular activities, and other details.
Since many colleges and universities accept the Common Application, you can fill in a single form and submit it to multiple schools. That will make the application process much simpler for you. However, you should make sure that the schools of your choice accept that application prior to submitting it.
Collect letters of recommendation
You will need at least two or three letter of recommendations for each college you apply to. Don’t worry; you can include the same letters to multiple applications. You can’t get these letters written by a random person; make sure to choose people who know your capacity and can highlight your strengths.
Don’t wait too long before you ask few teachers and guidance counselors for recommendations. You want to give them enough time to write the letters, since they are usually too busy when most students decide to deal with college applications.
Pay a lot of attention to your application essays and personal statements
This is the hardest part of college applications. These papers and statements should be short and personal, but always consume more time and nerves than planned. Different colleges have different requirements, so make sure to take them into consideration and tailor a unique document for each application.
College admission officers expect the applicants to show their unique voice through these essays. Think carefully about the approach you are going to take and never send the first draft. It is recommended to write several versions of the paper before you pick the best one.
After all that writing and editing, don’t forget the proofreading part! It won’t take much time for a teacher to read and proofread the essay, so don’t be afraid to ask. You might get valuable tips that would improve the overall quality of your college application.