College Application Overview
Unless your top colleges use the Common Application, you will prepare a separate application for each school you are interested in attending. While the application requirements vary by college (some require letters of recommendation while others don’t, some want more than one essay, etc.), most contain similar elements. Visit the Admissions page of each college you plan to apply to for information about their application requirements, process and deadline. If you have questions, talk to your School Counselor and/or call the college’s Admissions department directly.
The College Board has tons of helpful resources that you can use to familiarize yourself with & get tips on each step of the application process, including completing different elements of the application, writing the essay, and how to finalize your college list. See this great tip sheet on requesting letters of recommendation. Although rare, an interview may be part of a college’s application process. If this is the case for a college that you apply to, here are practical interview tips and sample questions to help you best prepare.
There are also college application resources in the SCS College & Career Center (S50). Stop by for SAT and ACT testing information, a College Application Checklist, essay writing tips, and more!
How to get started
Getting organized and making a plan will be your best friend when it comes to applying for college! Consider these steps to create a solid plan:
Step 1: Create a calendar or list with all college admissions and financial aid deadlines, and other important college dates. Do this for all of the colleges you plan to apply to. You can find the deadlines and application requirements on each college’s website (look for their Admissions Department).
Step 3: Keep track of what you have done to apply! Stop by the College & Career Center (S50) for a College Application Checklist (an easy way to make sure you complete all elements of each application).
And remember, the Steps to Get Ready for College checklist for your senior year will give you reminders of things to be doing each month to stay on track with applying for college. Follow it, and you will be in good shape!
Handling Tough Choices and Fears
We recognize that there are tough choices and fears involved in the college application process – How many colleges should I apply to? Should I take the SAT and/or ACT & how many times? How do I know what colleges I have a chance of getting accepted to? Here are some resources to help:
How many colleges should I apply to? See what the College Board recommends here.
Should I take the SAT and/or ACT & how many times? Here are some myths and facts on the role testing plays in admissions decisions, the benefits of retesting, and more. Check out these links to find out more about the SAT and the ACT tests (dates, costs, how to register, & more).
How do I know what colleges I have a chance of getting accepted to? Almost all colleges report data on the SAT and ACT scores and GPA of their most recent incoming freshman class. The College Board makes it easy to find this information by looking up each school here. You can use this information to get a picture of where you stand. The College Board also lists what requirements need to be met to apply, and how each college makes their application decisions too (for example, how important your essay is and what other factors they consider). You can use this information to make sure you are applying for at least one or two colleges you feel confident you will get accepted to. Still have questions? Talk to your School Counselor – this college fear is common, and they can help you make choices that put your mind more at ease and ensure you are applying to at least one school that you have a strong chance of getting accepted to.