Time to Apply for Colleges-Quick How-to’s

Time to Apply to Colleges

 Schools are sending information to prospective students via email and snail mail.  It is such fun to receive all of this!  

So, where to start, you ask.  Throw away any that you know that you are not interested in.  This will eliminate over half of what you receive.  Either in your trash can or email trash.  Do not get behind on this because your stack will grow and your inbox will get to be overwhelming.  

Prioritize By Due Dates 

Some will be immediate, others not for awhile.  Some have an early decision date which is binding, others have early decision which is non-binding.  Some have rolling decision dates, which means that you have more time.  

For the applications which you have decided to fill out, look on each college’s website.  What is their tuition package?  What sorts of scholarships are available?  Is there a tiered fee structure?  Where do you fall in all of that?  This might help to eliminate more from your stack.

One more thing to look at as far as applications, is whether or not they charge an application fee.  These can add up, so be sure that if you spend that money, it is really somewhere that you can see yourself going to for the next 4 years.

Fill out the FAFSA 

The due date is October 1.  Do not wait until the first to fill it out!  It can take hours to get it filled in, double-checked and completed!

Register for the ACT and/or SAT again, if those scores are something which you are wanting to improve upon.  You can still apply for colleges, you will just have to update the score for them either yourself or via the test center.  

Some schools ask for the ACT composite score.  This is the score of each subtest which is then divided by the number of subtests.  Your composite score and each test score (English, mathematics, reading, science) range from 1 (low) to 36 (high) is the average of your four test scores, rounded to the nearest whole number. Fractions less than one-half are rounded down; fractions one-half or more are rounded up. 

Another ACT score that a school may ask for is the superscore.  This is made up of your best sub-scores regardless of test date. Be sure to send in all your test scores for consideration.  This creates a new superscore using only your highest numbers.  Not all schools will ask for either of these, but look out for these options.

Write Some Essays  

These can be tweaked for each situation as needed. One essay that you need to write is, “What are your plans for the future”.  Most schools want to know this information in some form or another.  It is a good way for you to actually think about this and get your thoughts in order.   Be sure when filling out all of this information and writing these essays to be honest. There will be questions that will cause you to really have to think, and there will be others that seem ridiculous.  Most questions are asked for a certain reason, so think and answer carefully.  

One Final Tip  

Go back to each college’s website.  Look carefully through each tab.  Search through student life, take a virtual tour of the campus, look at the available clubs and activities.  Google the nearby town to find out information about the size and what is available to do outside of school since it is where you may be living.  

Do everything that you can to inform yourself about this college as a possibility, so that when it comes time to really decide where you will end up, you are ready and have all the pertinent facts.

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