Applying to College

This is the time you’ve been waiting for and planning for. It’s time to send in your college admission applications. The decision of where to apply has probably been made for any number of reasons . . . scholarship offers from the school, it has the best school of engineering, or even your parents went there. But – no matter what your decision was based on, you want to make the very best first impression you can – and the quality of your application package will do just that!

Every school has their own admission eligibility requirements so your first step is to determine what those are. Do they require a minimum 2.5 overall GPA? Do they have minimum scores on the SAT or ACT to be eligible? What do you have to attach to your application? Do you need letters of recommendation from teachers? Do you have to write an essay? At this particular college, do they require proof of a minimal number of community service hours? The variations are unlimited, and the best way to be placed in the “denied” stack is to be missing an item.

Here is a checklist to get you going in the right direction, and to make sure you get an “accepted” letter!

  1. Know what the application deadlines are. Your packet must arrive on time.
  2. Work with your high school guidance counselor to be sure you have everything to graduate as well as any pre-requisite courses the college or university might require.
  3. Get official copies of your transcript, as up to date as possible.
  4. If your ranking in your graduating class has been determined, have documentation of that.
  5. Include your college entrance exam scores – SAT or ACT.
  6. Request letters of recommendation from teachers early in your senior year. Teachers like to take a little time to reflect when they write these letters for their outstanding students.The same applies to requests for any letters you need from people in your community – those reflecting community service, or from your minister, etc.
  7. Write your essay. Give yourself plenty of time to really think about it. Have a teacher or parent look it over to make sure it is just right.
  8. Take care in filling out the official application. Fill in ALL of the blanks to the best of your knowledge.
  9. If you are applying for admission, but needing financial aid, complete the free FAFSA application on line (www.fafsa.ed.gov) which is the most recognized determinate of need. These scores are required with the application.
  10. DON’T LEAVE ANYTHING OUT! The easiest way not to be admitted to a college or university is to send in an incomplete application packet. Read the fine print, and check the list of the items required more than once – just to be sure.

You’re about to enter one of the most exciting times of your life – one that will prepare you for the future. Begin with a complete, well planned, well thought out application for admission and you’re off to a great start.

Related Links and Resources

College Board

This website offers information on a myriad of subjects to students just like you, getting set to go to college, and they have an excellent section on the application process – everything from how to write your essay to recommendation letters to including all the pieces required. Check it out at www.collegeboard.com/student/apply.

How to Get In

This is a most complete website dedicated to getting you that prized acceptance letter from the school of your choice. It discusses in depth every part of the application process. Go to www.howtogetin.com and see what they have to say.

ACT Advice

Go to the source. Where better than the ACT website to find out details about the college application process. This information can be found at www.actstudent.org/college/applying.html.

SAT Advice

And, here’s more of the same. If the SAT is the accepted entrance exam in your state, go to their website to find out more about college applications. They even have an article on application omissions and delivery issues. They can be found at www.sat.org. When you get there search for ‘college applications.’

College Admission Info

Wow! This site is devoted entirely to the college application process . . . how to plan for it, how to do it, how to be successful. If you have any questions at all regarding this important step, go to this website and see what they have to say. www.collegeadmissioninfo.com

In Like Me

This website states it is the hub for college admission, scholarship information, and facts about financial aid. It has extensive information on just about every subject related to getting into and staying in college. Their section on college applications is excellent – full of info and easy to navigate. Check it out – www.inlikeme.com

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