Do you know someone ready to apply to college, and would you like to be their superhero? We know the college application season intimidates a lot of people, but with a little preparation and guidance, you can streamline the process in no time. Whether you’re helping your child or want to just give them some pointers, we want to make it easy.
First, decide what school(s) are the right fit. We all have different interests and passions, so College Board put together tools to help find the right school. Search for 5-8 schools that you like and rank them in three different categories:
“Safety”–Your academic credentials fall above the school’s range for the average freshman. It’s safe to anticipate acceptance.
Realistic–Your academic credentials fall within (or even exceed) the school’s range for the average freshman. There are no guarantees, but it’s reasonable to expect acceptance.
Reach–Your academic credentials fall below admission guidelines, but it’s important to reach for the stars. Go for it, and apply to that selective dream school.
Most colleges charge an application fee, so make your top schools a priority to apply to. The good news is many colleges and universities offer to waive the fee. Ask a counselor for assistance with waivers.
Next, gather the following information and documents. Psst… check out the Senior Launch Guide for easy ways to organize the following info:
- Personal Information: Name, date of birth, address, email, social security number, driver’s license number, any recommendation letters, application essay.
- High School Info: Name, contact info, graduation year, official transcripts, test scores (SAT and ACT), clubs, awards and honors, and community service.
- College(s) of Interest Info: Name and location of the admissions office, cost of tuition, admissions requirements.
- Complete the FAFSA and submit to interested schools: Colleges use the FAFSA to determine financial aid packages for students. Plus, completing the FAFSA early can mean more money available to you! Read our story on the benefits of filing a FAFSA.
Once you complete the personal information, you may need:
- Recommendation Letters: These are used to help share more about the applicant from someone else’s perspective. Ask an adult you have worked with like a teacher, coach, or counselor if they can write a letter of recommendation.
- Application essay: Sometimes called a personal statement, you’ll want to showcase what you bring to the school. Also, put lots of thought into the essay because a good one can boost your chances of acceptance. And, don’t forget to proofread it (and get a second set of eyes, too).
- ACT/SAT scores, and/or transcripts: Some colleges don’t require ACT/SAT, so check. Request your high school to send your transcripts to college where you apply.
Now that everything is in order, apply! Make sure to check out college deadlines—they all differ. Also, check to see if the colleges use the Common App or the Coalition App. (You can use these to apply to multiple colleges at once.)
Once successful completion of all of these steps, the application is now ready to submit! Best of luck and if you ever get stuck, there’s more help in our Senior Launch Guide that is completely free online!