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How to Apply for College

It's that time of the year again, application season! For many high school seniors, this is a .very stressful time, many do not even know where to start. Although this is a monumental and terrifying part of one’s educational career, I am here to help you get through this with ease, here are 5 steps for applying for college. steps.

Step One: Make a comprehensive list of what you are looking for in a school. This step allows you to build a criterion for your dream college, making it a great jumping-off point. With this list, you can narrow down your college search to make sure it fits your needs and wants for a college. Factors you might want to take into consideration when making this list is location, majors, housing, pricing, and student to faculty ratio.

Step Two: Make a list of colleges you want to apply to and research the colleges. Make sure you refer to your criteria when choosing colleges to apply to, this way you are applying to a college that will offer you the best possible experience. Once you have a list of colleges that fits your criteria, it is important to figure out their criteria for students. Essentially, what GPA and test scores (SAT and ACT) do they want from an applicant. This can help you figure out if you are above below or above the benchmark for the school and allow you to work towards improving in these areas. Along with researching their criteria for students, you should also research their application process: Can you apply through the Common App, or do they have a separate Application? When are their deadlines for applications? Do you need to write any essays for the application? It is also a good idea to get in contact with their college admissions counselor/ officer to help you set interviews, tours, etc.

Step Three: Fill out the application, this can either be done through the Common App or your college’s chosen forum for application. Determining whether you want to apply early action, early decision, or regular decision for your colleges and figure out the deadlines for each type of application. Early action applications are typically due November 1st, with the early action application you typically find out if you received admission around December. Early decision is essentially the same thing as early action except for the fact that you can only apply early decision to one school and if you get into that school you must go there. Regular decision is the most common application, the deadline for this application is typically around January. Common App is an undergraduate application database that includes almost 900 institutions from all 50 states and 20 different countries.

How to use the common app:

  1. Create an Account

  2. Select the colleges you want to apply to

  3. Fill out your profile. The profile asks basic questions about who you are, your address, contact information, demographics, geography, language, citizenship, and possible fee waiver.

  4. Fill out the family portion if the common app which asks about your family dynamics and education levels.

  5. Fill out the education portion, which asks about secondary schooling history, grades, GPA, current classes, academic achievements, involvement in organizations, and future plans.

  6. Fill out the testing portion, which asks questions about SAT and ACT scores.

  7. Fill out the activities portion, the clubs/ organizations one is involved in.

  8. Fill out the writing portion, which is essentially for your personal statement

  9. Then you click the “my colleges' tab” and work on the application for each college.

Step Four: Write and edit any essays for your application. These essays show colleges who you are as a person aside from your academic achievements. With the recent COVID-19 crisis many colleges are not focused on test scores, so it is even more important to have exceptional essays. Make sure that the essay you choose to turn in is a good reflection of your writing abilities and of you as a person. I would advise that you get in touch with teachers or college counselors to have someone look over your essays for you.

Step Five: Contact teachers and Counselors for recommendations and transcripts. Many colleges ask for your transcript and teacher/ counselor recommendations, it is a good idea to request these early so the teachers/counselors have time to work on your recommendation. It is a good idea to ask teachers you have a good rapport with to ensure a stellar recommendation. I would also advise that you give them a resume or list of accomplishments so they can refer to it when they are writing this recommendation.

After you have completed these steps, you should be all set to submit your application. Now you can enjoy the rest of your senior year and begin preparing for college. I hope this information proves to be helpful.


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