Embarking on the journey to college is an exciting and pivotal moment in every student’s life. As you take this important step to apply for college, proper preparation is key. In this article, we will walk you through the essential steps and tips to help you navigate the college application process with confidence.
Steps to Apply for College
You’re about to learn how to apply for college. We’ll cover the types of college applications you may encounter and what you’ll need to complete your applications.
Step 1: Take your College Assessment Tests
If you’re currently in high school, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the majority of colleges and universities will request your SAT or ACT scores as part of their admissions process. Both the SAT and ACT serve as comprehensive assessments, evaluating your proficiency across a range of subjects. Therefore, it’s highly advisable to dedicate time and effort to thorough preparation for these assessment tests, as they are widely recognized and often considered prerequisites for college admissions.
Step 2: Apply for the FAFSA
Financial aid plays a vital role in supporting many students on their educational journey, and one of the essential tools for accessing it is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To ensure you can benefit from this assistance, it’s crucial to apply for the FAFSA as early as possible. Keep in mind that you will need your parents’ tax information if you are not considered an independent student and the application opens January 1st.
It’s worth noting that you must complete the FAFSA application each year you are in college. If you haven’t applied for the FAFSA yet, check out our article, how to get college funding. It includes how to apply for the FAFSA.
Step 3: Research the College’s Application Requirements
Take the time to visit the websites of the colleges you are interested in. Locate their online applications and carefully note each college’s specific application requirements and deadlines. Prioritize your applications based on these crucial deadlines. To help you stay organized, you can use our College Research Tracker in a Google Spreadsheet.
Simply click the “Copy” button, and you can commence organizing your research and even share the document. Having a free Google Documents account is all you need. This online tracking method grants you access to your college research spreadsheet from any computer or smartphone.
Simply click the Copy button and you can start organizing your research and you can even share your document. You will need a free Google Documents account if you don’t already have one. Tracking your college research online with Google Documents gives you access to your college research spreadsheet from any computer and or smartphone.
Step 4: Fill out the College Application
Start working on your applications as each will typically ask you to create a username and password to save your progress. Next, be patient as completing the application might take a few days and save your information frequently to avoid losing your work. Many applications require a writing sample or essay.
Next, ensure your essay addresses the assigned topic, showcases your personality, and stays within the required word count. Most importantly, proofread your application meticulously for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. Plagiarism is a big no-no.
Finally, you will also have to pay the application fee, and those can add up. The average fee ranges from $50 to $75 though some colleges may charge up to $150. Fee waivers are available for those who qualify, and applying online can sometimes lead to reduced fees. NACAC Fee Waivers are an option for applicants with limited financial means.
Step 5: Request your Transcripts within the Deadline
You’ll need to request that your school sends your official academic transcripts to the colleges you’re applying to. Ensure they send official transcripts in sealed envelopes to maintain their status as transcripts can take a few weeks to reach the college.
Step 6: Get Letters of Recommendation
Some colleges may request Letters of Recommendation, which can enhance your application. Ask teachers, coaches, advisors, or employers for these letters. Provide clear instructions on where to send them and give your recommenders plenty of time to complete them.
Are you ready to apply for college?
The journey to college marks a significant milestone in your life, filled with excitement, choices, and countless possibilities. As you apply for colleges, remember that preparation is key to ensure a smooth and successful application process. Breaking down this process into manageable steps empowers you to take control of your future. Rest assured, you’ve got what it takes to succeed on your college journey, and we wish you the best of luck!