Applying to and Choosing a College
College Application Guide
How To Complete Your Applications
Application deadlines vary from school to school, and the process can be complicated. Requesting letters of recommendation and grade transcripts takes time, especially if your high school office is closed for semester break. Being organized and disciplined will help you prepare stronger applications.
- Make a calendar
Include scheduled time to prepare and complete your application, along with actual application deadlines for the schools you want to attend.
- Create a checklist of tasks
Include everything you need to prepare and submit, such as essays, letters of recommendation, transcripts, volunteer information, resumes, and fees.
- Ask for help
You can get answers from your high school counselor, college catalogs and websites, and the admissions and financial aid offices at the colleges you hope to attend.
- Apply online if possible
Several common applications are available online, such as the Common Application, which allow you to apply to multiple colleges at once. Check to see if your colleges of choice use any of these or their own online application.
- Draft and proof your essays
Colleges will evaluate how well you know yourself, what you value, and your level of commitment to achieving your life and career goals.
- Have someone review ahead of time
Have a parent or trusted friend review everything you need to submit to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward.
- Keep a copy and get confirmation
No system is perfect; applications can get misplaced. If you are sending a paper application, be sure to use registered mail.
- Include any required payments
Be sure to include the application fee. Some schools offer fee waivers in certain cases. Ask your high school counselor.