The College Application
While the essay is the focal point of most applications (see the college essay), you should not overlook the importance of the rest of the application as well. A sloppy application indicates that you are not very interested in the outcome of that particular application.
Make sure the application is neat and legible. It will look best if it is typed. If you opt to complete the questionnaire sections by hand, print clearly in blue or black ink. Your essay should be typewritten and either attached to the application itself or enclosed with it.
Remember that the application readers may not be familiar with the acronyms or terms you use. Spell it out! For example, NCCT is the North Country Community Theater, TAP is the Teen Awareness Program, and PIZZAZZ is the annual Variety Show.
The Common College Application
The Common Application is a standardized application form accepted by a large number of private colleges and universities. The application, teacher and counselor recommendations can all be copied for your various colleges, saving you time. Colleges who accept the Common Application agree to accept it just as they do their own application, without discrimination.
Electronic College Applications
More colleges are now accepting applications via the Internet. Check out each website of the colleges that interest you to find out more details.
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Completing the College Application
Colleges are not alike and application forms may vary significantly. However, there are some four-year institutions that will accept the Common Application. Without a formal application, colleges will not consider you. See your counselor for details.
A college or university typically collects the following kinds of information about its applicants:
- The Application – This serves the purpose of identifying the student to the college (name, address,high school, etc.), as well as manifesting the student’s personality (personal statement). It is highly recommended that students type their applications, although careful printing or neat script is just as presentable.
- SAT Scores – These are sent directly to colleges, if students so request when they take the exam.(Colleges only accept scores reported to them through the testing agency or on the high school’s official transcript.)
- The Transcript – Courses taken in grades 9-12 are supplied to colleges. In addition to a record ofgrades through four years of high school, the transcript shows the student’s rank in class and scores on standardized tests (SAT’s or ACT’s). The student’s high school counselor has the responsibility of sending the transcript to colleges via the student’s request.
- The School Recommendation Statement – While it is true that for admissions purposes colleges placegreat emphasis on a student’s academic record through four years of high school, it is also true that other factors are important, particularly when admissions officers are trying to distinguish among hundreds of students with quite similar grade point averages, SAT scores, and extracurricular activities.
When it comes to taking the stress out of applying for college, the book “College Admission” is a big help. By combining the expertise of Robin Mamlet, dean of admission at three of the top colleges in the United States, with the experience of journalist and parent Christine VanDeVelde (who has been through the process first hand from a parent’s perspective) you’ll find a vital user’s manual to help students and parents through the process of college applications in a clear and comprehensive way.