Here's all the tips and tools to help you fill our your college or university applications!
Plan. You’ll need to research the schools that you’re interested in. Do they offer a variety of classes for your chosen major? Do your GPA and test scores match the profile of students they normally accept? Do they provide the student support that you need? Are there campus activities that suit your lifestyle? And sometimes most importantly, is it at a cost that is manageable, through loans or employment? Make a list of schools that you’re “very interested in”, “moderately interested in” and “safety” (a backup school that you’re sure to be accepted to if all else fails). Make sure you give yourself enough time to fill out college or university applications so you don’t miss any deadlines!
Prepare and compile. You’ll need to collect information, and quite a bit of it. College and university applications can be quite long and sometimes complex. The best place to start would be asking teachers, counselors or other trusted professionals for letters of recommendation. Some schools only require one, some require three – check with the college or university that you’re looking into for their requirements. Asking potential references ahead of time ensures that you’ll get the letter you’re looking for. In most cases you’ll need to collect an unofficial transcript from your high school (the official transcript will be sent later), as well as know your SAT/ACT scores (an official copy will also be asked). Compile a list of any awards or special honors that you’re received, if any, as well as a list of your extracurricular activities (sports, clubs, work, volunteer experience, etc.). Next, write your personal statement. It can be a compelling marketing tool, so make sure that you’re able to sell yourself! Additional essays may be required for some schools – make a list of them and start working on them one by one (some may be the same or very similar). Have your parents and/or others review them for errors and see if they have any suggestions to improve them.
Fill out the applications. These can be done by hand (make sure not to make any smudges and to print neatly and accurately) or online through an electronic application. You’ll need your social security number (and probably your parents’ too) so make sure you have those on hand. Answer all the questions honestly and take the time to read the application very thoroughly (this is time consuming). Include your pre-written personal statement, unofficial transcripts, SAT/ACT scores, letters of recommendation (you’ll need to make copies - ALWAYS keep the original), and additional essays, if any. At the very end, include your check or credit card payment for the application fee, sign the application and mail it registered mail so you will know for sure that all of your important documents got to their intended college or university.
Wait. You will likely receive a letter or email from the college or university stating that they have received your application and a date when acceptance letters will be mailed out. You should have responses from the schools within a few months.
Good luck with filling out your college or university applications!