College Tips: The Application Process

As a college student, who just finished their freshmen year, with a sister that is rising senior in high school, college is a highly discussed topic in my house. Anyone who has gone through the college process recently can tell you it is extensive, stressful and nerve-wracking . The key to avoiding the majority of this stress is to not procrastinate. My mother is a firm believer in being prepared, so about a dozen weekends my junior year were spent touring various colleges that either I or my parents were interested in. I definitely recommend touring during junior year, that way you can at least narrow down the list of colleges you want to apply to.

When it comes time to start applications, start as soon as possible. The summer before senior year, check when the colleges you want to apply to so that you know when they put up their applications (typically sometime in August). It’s important to start these before school starts, because you will be even busier with homework and activities and won’t want to spend hours filling out personal information and writing essays. Applications are already painful enough without adding the stress of school to it. 

Here’s some tips to be prepared for applications:

  1. Have your information ready. Applications ask for information about your family’s finances, test scores (including the individual scores on the different sections),and your high school GPA. Anytime an application asks for information you do not know off the top of your head, save it in a document because you never know if you next applications will ask the same question and you don’t want to waste time figuring out the answer for a second time.
  2. Compile a list of high school activities. Every college’s application has a section that asks for your extracurricular activities so have a list prewritten including the years you participated. Where you a member of the Spanish Club freshman and sophomore years? Played tennis all four? Sing in choir junior year? Dance on the dance team at games and competitions?
  3. Think about applying early. Some colleges allow students to apply early which also enable you to find out sooner if you were accepted. BUT be careful, there is a difference between, Early Action and Early Decision. If an application is Early Decision that means that your acceptance is binding and that if you are accepted you agree to attend that college. If you are 100% certain you want to go to a college that offers that, than by all means apply Early Decision but if not just do Early Action. Also do not apply Early Decision to more than one school because if you get into both then you have to pay tuition for both regardless of which one you decide.
  4. Don’t procrastinate. Just get them done so that you have one less thing to worry about senior year. 
  5. Save everything. The compilation of school activities and the information mentioned earlier (#1 & #2), save those for later. As well as copies of all your essays, you can possibly use them for other applications including the ones you will have to fill out at the end of senior year for scholarships (it just never seems to end)

Hope that helps some of you. Good luck with everything and goodnight. 

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