The purpose of a college application is to give admission officers an idea of who you are. While there are several requirements needed, not every college will ask for every single item. The application process can definitely be daunting, but this guide on how to complete a college application can help you out.
Make a list of colleges you want to go to
There are different factors to consider when choosing a college to go to. Final choices can be boiled down to cost and distance, but it’s best to start listing colleges that cater to your interest.
Once you have a list, you can narrow the choices down further after carefully reading each college’s requirements and doing more research. Look into housing opportunities as well as leisure activities. If possible, a visit to the campus itself to get a feel of the place. We’ve visited many colleges ourselves and you can review our findings to go along with your own research.
Keep deadlines in mind
Knowing the application deadline of your chosen college helps you gather and fulfill the needed requirements on time. Colleges also have different options for applying: regular decision, early action, early decision, and rolling admissions. The first three rely on deadlines while the last covers a period of time.
Regular Decision is the most common and starts around January with results expected around March or April. You can submit and be notified earlier under Early Action. Under Early Decision, you are agreeing to enroll in the chosen college if accepted. Rolling Admissions provide a window under which you can submit an application.
Provide all the items required
These are the common requirements, but not every college will need each one, and others may require more.
- Application Forms – can either be a paper or online application.
- Application Fees – ranges from $35 to $50 and is not refundable but waivers are available if you can’t afford the fee.
- High School Transcript – will be sent to the colleges you are applying to by your high school but you need to verify all the information first.
- Final Transcript – will be sent by your high school to the colleges you’ve applied to at the end of your senior year.
- Admission Test Scores – these are scores from tests such as ACT or SAT which some colleges require. Plan a study schedule and testing date so scores can be sent on time.
- Letters of Recommendation – these can be from teachers or people who know you well. Ask your references to write a recommendation well in advance of the deadline.
- Essays – this helps admission officers gain a better insight into your character and strengths.
- Auditions and portfolios – needed when you want to get into art, music, or theater programs.
- Interviews – even when not required, you can ask for one to connect with someone from the admission office and show you’re serious. You can interview with an alumnus from the local area in case the college is located far away.
Keep a copy of every material needed in the application process
It’s always a good idea to keep copies of everything you’re including in your college application. You just never know if an item will get lost or misplaced, so it’s a good idea to have copies!
Confirm that your application materials have arrived
You can apply to many schools, but keep in mind that you also have to get in touch with each of them to confirm they’ve received your college application. It’s also a good time to verify if every item requested is present. That way you can quickly supply any material that is missing.