2 IntroductionIt might seem like graduation is far away, yet it will be here before you know it!Applying for college is a long process with many time sensitive steps. The sooner you start, the more organized and less stressful this process will be.We are going to go thru the steps you will need to take to apply for college.Keep in mind that this is a general outline, many colleges and universities will have unique requirements that you will need to know if you are applying to one of them.
3 Choosing the right school While you don’t need to declare a major now, it would be good to have a general idea of what it is you want to study.The link below is a good place to start if you have a general idea of what you want to study.Once you have about 5-8 schools that you are interested in, create a folder for each school to keep important information for each one separate.Your list should contain a mix of schools. Include schools you are fairly certain you can get in to, some you might be able to and some you are not as confident it. You never know!
4 Online or paper application? Check with the college to see if they have a preferred format.Most prefer online because it is easier. They may also waive application fees if you apply online.It is not necessary to include more information that what the colleges ask for.
5 DeadlinesMost applications are due by January 1st. To be sure you need to check with the colleges you have chosen to apply to.Missing an application deadline automatically means that you've missed your chance to apply.If you are trying to apply early decision, the deadline is usually in early October. Schools have different criteria for accepting early decision applicants. Some schools look for GPA, test scores and or specific coursework. You should review the admissions section of your college's website for details.Early decision is binding, so if you chose to apply early decision make sure it is THE school you want to attend.Early action applications are usually due by November 1st. It is similar to early decision, but it is not binding.
6 The applicationYour college application creates a portrait of who you are and what you can bring to a college.Some parts of the application are sent directly by the school, others are sent by you. We will go over the parts that you are directly responsible for.Remember that it is really important that you are aware of and meet all the deadlines for your applications.
7 The application (cont.) The Common Application is a not-for-profit organization that serves students and member institutions by providing an admission application – online and in print – that students may submit to any of our 415 members.https://www.commonapp.org/CommonApp/default.aspxIf the school you are applying to is one of the 415 that accepts this application, you can save a lot of time and effort by using The Common Application.There is a search feature so you can verify if the school you are interested in accepts The Common Application.Even if you are using The Common Application some of the colleges may also request additional materials when you apply.
8 Application Fees College application fees vary. Most are in the $35 to $50 range.The fee is usually nonrefundable, even if you're not accepted.Many colleges offer fee waivers for applicants from low-income families. If you need a fee waiver, talk with your high school counselor.Remember, if you qualified for a fee waiver for the SAT/ACT you automatically qualify for application fee waivers.Most applications can be filled out online.If you're doing a paper application, remember neatness counts so you will want to print or type perfectly
9 Test ScoresWhen you sign up to take the SAT, you can choose which colleges should receive your scores, and which scores to send them. Your test fee includes the costs of sending your scores to several colleges.You can choose up to six schools to receive your test scores.It is important that you check the average test scores for your school to see if you should retake your SAT or ACT
10 TranscriptsAll colleges want to see a copy of your official transcript as part of your application.This comes from the guidance office, but it is your responsibility to request it.Senior year grades matter! Your high school sends a mid-year transcript with your application -- and also sends one to the college of your choice at the end of the year.
11 College EssaysThis can be the most time-consuming and difficult part of applying to college.The personal essay is usually about 300 to 500 words in length or longer, depending on the college.Sometimes you have a choice and other times the colleges give you specific prompts.You need to give this part a lot of thought and dedicate a lot of time to it.Once you think you are done, have several people read your essay.Explore the link below for more ideas and tips:
12 RecommendationsMany colleges ask you to submit one or more letters of recommendation from a teacher, counselor or other adult who knows you well.It is important that you chose someone who knows you well, but that is also still involved in your academic life. Your kindergarten teacher might think highly of you, but they cannot speak to the type of student you are today.It is also important that you give the person enough time to write a thoughtful and individual letter. You should give the person at least a month’s notice.Remember, teachers are asked to write a lot of recommendation letters every year. Asking them at the last minute reflects poorly on you and may result in a less than ideal recommendation.
13 Recommendations (cont.) It is also helpful if you provide the person writing the recommendation with information about the schools and programs you are applying to. This helps them cater the letter to reflect your strong points in those areas.It is also thoughtful to provide the person with a self-addressed stamped envelope to send your recommendation if it is not online.If you are not sure how the person you are asking feels about you, don’t be shy. Ask them if they feel they are capable of writing you a good recommendation. If they say no or seem to waiver, ask someone else!!!Check in with the person about a week or two after you asked them. Remember, teachers are really busy people. They might have forgotten.A thank you letter or letting the teacher know if you got in or not is always a nice touch!
14 Interviews and visitsIf the colleges you are considering offer interviews, you should schedule one as this shows you are very interested.This is an opportunity to connect directly with someone who will be part of the decision making process concerning your application.If an on-campus interview is not feasible, you can arrange to meet with an alumnus near you.The interview is also a good time to ask questions, so you can make sure the college is right for you.Follow interview protocol:Be on time!Dress neatly and professionallyUse appropriate languageAvoid eating or drinking during the interviewDo a little background research on the university and have some questions of your own ready
15 Financial AidNot being able to afford a certain school should not stop you from applying if you think you can get in.You don’t know which colleges your family can afford until you get an estimate based on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that you submit at the beginning of January in your senior year.This form determines what your family can contribute and what types of scholarships and grants you might be eligible for.We will discuss the Financial Aid application process in greater detail during a later Advisement session.
16 Complete a practice application https://secure.gacollege411.org/College_Planning/Applications_and_Transcripts/Applications_and_Transcripts.aspxFollow the link above and login with your GA411 username and password.Complete the practice application.This will be a graded activity
17 AssignmentBy the next class meeting, prepare a document with the following information:Identify a college or university that you want to apply to.List a reason for applying to this college or university.Does this school accept paper or online applications?Find the application deadlines.Can you choose your essay topic or do they provide you with one?What is the average SAT/ACT score of accepted applicants?How many recommendations do you need for this school?Does this college require any additional materials?