College Application Hints and Tips
- Be visible in your high school counsellor’s office. Discuss your academic plans and career goals with the guidance counsellor. Visit the counsellor at least three times during your junior year of high school and about once every two or three weeks during your senior year of high school. During the visits you will be able to learn about which colleges and universities are right for you. You’ll learn about scholarship opportunities for which you are eligible. You’ll keep up to date with deadlines for aptitude tests such as the ACT and SAT and opportunities to take CLEP exams to earn college credit. You’ll also find out details about college grants such as the Pell Grant and see whether you are eligible to receive government money to help you pay for college.
- Keep a file to organize your paperwork related to college grants, college scholarships, and college applications. Keep an extra copy of all the forms, applications, test scores, letters of recommendation, resumes, essays and pertinent material.
- Fill out your name on test applications for the SAT I, SAT II, ACT, CLEP, AP, and college application forms the same way. It should be as it appears on your birth certificate and social security card. Look at your high school report card and make sure your name appears the same way as it is on your social security card and birth certificate. If it is not, you should bring your birth certificate and social security card to the main office in order to get it straightened out.
- Find out the school code for each college to which you are applying. You will need the code in order to send aptitude test results to the colleges of your choice. Each time you take a test such as the SAT and ACT, you should make sure the code for each college of your choice is on the application form.
- On each college application, make mention of any special talents you have, whether in music, drama, athletics, creative writing, and so on. If you have any particular awards related to your talents, mention them on your application.
- Book your college interview appoints early. Try to call in June, even if the interview will not be until October. By mid-September, some schools are booked completely for on-campus interviews. There is no problem if you need to miss high school class for an on-campus college interview. Just inform your high-school counsellor of your plans. Your counsellor may have additional information and ideas to help you during this process.
- Develop a filing system for each college you are pursuing; create checklists with deadlines, things to be done, and take any pertinent notes during the process to keep in the file.
- Read the application requirements for each college thoroughly. Some have specific requirements such as particular coursework in high school, such as a foreign language, certain science courses, or a certain level of advanced math such as calculus. Some require you to take the SAT II.
- Treat each application as if that school were your first choice. Many schools are paying heed to a student’s level of interest. They want to admit students who want them.
- Meet all deadlines. In this business, deadlines are a serious matter. In fact, where possible, we encourage you to submit applications early.
“A Is for Admission” is for students and parents who wish to take a behind the scenes look at the admission process at Ivy League schools. Learn about the importance of class rank, the SAT II, and the difficulty of your high school curriculum in the college application process.