The College Application Process

The College Application Process

Applying to colleges and universities is a very important step on the stairway to success for many high school seniors. Procrastination must be avoided in this process. Students should identify anywhere from two to five colleges and universities that they are interested in attending and apply to all of them. This way if the student does not get accepted to one of these schools, there is at least another school as a back-up.  It’s also helpful to remember that community colleges have an open enrollment and only require a high school diploma or its equivalent and do not require a particular grade point average (GPA) or test scores for admission.

Find Out Ahead of Time What the Admission Requirements are for the Colleges of Your Choice

It’s very important to apply to college early.  Even while still in junior high school, it is a good idea to be familiar with admission requirements to the colleges that interest you.  For some colleges, a particular curriculum is required during your high school studies.  That way you can plan ahead and make sure to take the right courses.  For other colleges, the major you select will require you to have a particular curriculum while in high school.  With that in mind, high school students during their junior year should double-check what each school’s application process consists of. Some require essays, recommendation letters, and other assorted paperwork while others do not. When this happens, students know what they are getting into and know what is expected of them before there is any real pressure. It is wise to begin the application process during the summer of the junior year or very early in the senior year. When applying to college it is extremely important to follow the application direction to the letter. When it comes to writing application essays, the key is to be sincere and to the point. It’s important to express who you really are as a person and that you are dedicated to future success.

Keep a Calendar with the Application Deadlines for Each College You’re Applying For

A common application deadline is December 1st.  However, make sure to check the deadlines for the colleges you would like to attend and apply well before the deadline.  In most cases, those who apply early are more likely to get the housing they want, the best scholarships, and the best overall financial aid packages in comparison to students who wait longer to apply. Some colleges and universities have application deadlines before December 1, however. Because of this, it is very important that students be familiar with the deadlines of all of the schools they plan to apply to.

Featured Video: Insider’s Guide to Admissions from Vanderbilt University

Try to apply to each college well before the deadline.  Choose your favorite college and see if there is an early admission program.  If there is, you can apply under the early admission program and learn of whether you are accepted months early.  Remember, you are only allowed to use the early admission program for one college or university.

Soon after students apply to college, they receive letters in the mail or via e-mail that tell them whether they were accepted or not. This will either make students jump for joy or feel disappointed. It’s very important that does who do not get accepted keep their heads and push forward. There are always other colleges and universities to apply to.

College Application Process Checklist

The following checklist is for both student and parent to assist in the college application process. It has been designed to show the responsibilities of all those involved in making this process a smooth and efficient one.

    1. Double-check deadlines and admission requirements for each college where you are applying.
    2. Check with the colleges you’re applying for to learn the dates of campus visits.
    3. Find out whether the colleges of your choice require SAT I, SAT II, or ACT scores.
    4. Learn the code for each college.  You will need to provide the code on your SAT I, SAT II, and ACT exams.
    5. Check with your high school counsellor to apply for the aptitude tests that your choice of colleges require.
    6. Check with your high school counsellor regarding the procedures for sending your transcripts to the colleges to which you are applying.
    7. As you gather the materials for each college application, complete them.  Once an application is completed, send it in to the admissions department well before the deadline.
    8. Make sure to investigate the college grants and college scholarships for which you are eligible.  It is important to start this process early and to keep up on the deadlines for each grant and scholarship.
    9. Remember to work on your essays early.  It is a good idea to have your high school counsellor, parents, and English teachers review your essays and provide you feedback.  For help looking at successful college admissions essays, we recommend 100 Successful College Application Essays (Second Edition)