How to Apply to College: A Step-by-Step Guide
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For parents who have never gone through the college application process, it might seem overwhelming or simply unclear. In any case, applying to college is a lengthy and multifaceted process, and we at CollegeVine have made it our job to simplify it.
The first step to applying to college is deciding where to submit those precious applications. Researching colleges is vitally important to how to apply to college step by step where you want to apply. Much of this research can be done online now, with some sites even offering 3D tours of campuses and live forums to ask questions from real students.
If possible, visit the schools near the top of the list to get a better feel for campus life and the student body. Another good route to learning more specific colleges is attending college fairs, info sessions with visiting admissions representatives, or talking to current students. You can begin researching colleges at any point, but by 11th grade the process should be underway.
To learn more about researching colleges, check out our comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide to Researching Colleges. A perfect college list will consist of schools that your student would happily attend, which are a good fit academically and program-wise, and which represent a variety of realistic admissions chances.
When creating a college list, your student will need how to write northwestern essay juggle numerous priorities and decide which are most important to him or her.
These might include things like college size, geographic location, program offerings, and student life. Then, he or she will need to find colleges that meet these criteria and represent a good balance of schools to which he or she has a realistic shot of admissions. Ideally, your student will finalize his or her college list by the beginning of 12th grade.
Whether you apply using the common app, the coalition app, or a university-specific application, you will inevitably be asked for letters of recommendation. Before you request these, be sure that you understand the requirements for them as dictated by your specific application. Some applications specify that these must be written by teachers, others request one from a teacher and one from a guidance counselor, and still others leave the decision entirely up to you.
In any case, the person who writes your recommendations should know you well enough to speak to your specific strengths and be able to provide concrete examples of these. Request recommendation letters at the end of 11th grade or early in the year during 12th grade.
Standardized test scores are still an important piece of college admissions, even as more and more colleges shift towards a more holistic approach. Standardized test scores are even sometimes used as an initial screening tool, especially at large colleges where they receive far more applications than they are able to closely review. This will leave the entire summer to study and raise scores, while also allowing at least two more chances to take the test in fall of 12th grade.
For more about the Common Application, which is accepted at more than colleges and universities across the country, check out our Common App Help page. Improve your essay and impress admissions officers with our free Peer Essay Review. Submit your essay now to get fast feedback. There are several different options for college application timelines.
Some students decide it is best to apply early decision to a top choice school. Other students opt for early action applications, while still more pursue regular decision. You can get a better idea of the pros and cons for each option by checking out our post What Are the Differences Between Early Action and Early Decision?
Programming notifications into your phone or mobile device to give yourself a few reminders in the days leading up to these deadlines is a great idea. A standout college application will present a clear picture of a student with well-rounded academic pursuits but specialized interests and experiences. Generally, to get into a selective college, you will need to perform well across the board in your academic classes, but you should also show some specialized interests, ideally ones that relate to your goals for the future.
Your application theme is essentially your unique, comprehensive story of who you are as a person and a student. For example, if how to apply to college step by step want to be a doctor, your application theme may revolve around this ambition. You would include STEM-heavy extracurriculars and perhaps a service project in the medical field. These are areas to highlight specifically on your application, especially in your how to choose college and on your list of activities and honors.
For more about this, check out our Elite Applications Program and its complete overview of an admissions theme. The Common App essay prompts are usually released in the spring before they are due, and most other college applications are on a similar timeline.
You can preview these prompts and begin brainstorming and even drafting your essays during the summer before 12th grade. You should be writing second and final drafts of your essays by early fall of 12th grade.
Financial aid is a necessity for the meet the student teacher letter of college bound students. Many students also consider scholarships to help offset college expenses. These are a great option, and there are many more scholarships out there than most families even realize. Start your scholarship search early, during winter of 11th grade, and continue to work on it throughout your college application process.
Some scholarships require lengthy applications with polished essays, so be sure to allow enough time for these. We recommend that you check every single aspect of your application three times before you submit it. This means proofreading your final essay three times.
Reviewing your activity list three times. Touching base about letters of recommendation and confirming that official test scores have been sent to the correct colleges three times. Applying to college is an involved process, and it would be a shame to present a less than perfect application due to a hasty oversight.
Give your work the critical eye three times before you submit it to ensure that you present your best self. Review Essays Now. Get a Free Essay Review. Want more college admissions tips? We'll send you information to help you throughout the college admissions process.
Loved the article? Share it! Short bio. Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat sometimes at the same timeshe now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis. Other articles by Kate. What is the Atlanta University Center Consortium?
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How to Apply to College: A Step-by-Step Guide
STEP-BY-STEP HOW TO APPLY TO COLLEGE GUIDE ETOWAH HIGH SCHOOL COUNSELING DEPARTMENT
Oct 19, - Applying to college can be a stressful process, but starting early, College is a big step, so it's totally normal if you feel a little overwhelmed. Sep 24, - Our step-by-step guide uses a student's real experience to teach you how to apply for college, including choosing colleges, taking standardized. With instant access to more than colleges and universities around the world, the Common App is the most seamless way to manage the application process. application guide. It's go time — and we'll be with you every step of the way.