How Do I Apply to Colleges?

There is no denying the fact that when students apply to colleges, it can be a very stressful time. You must first start by finding universities and colleges that are up to your standards. Then, you can review the acceptance rates, research available financial aid, and finally submit your application and all of the required materials before the upcoming deadline. If you are applying to several colleges at once, you can improve your chances of gaining acceptance, but you may be more stressed during the application period. If you would like to know what to expect when you begin to apply to college, read on and learn more about the process.

Take Your SAT or ACT

If you are a high school student, it is very important that you take your SAT or ACT. Currently, about 85 percent of colleges require that students have the scores of aptitude tests on file to assess the applicant’s academic ability. Some colleges weigh the score of these tests very heavily while others do not. Regardless of how much weight is placed on the score of your SAT or ACT, it is important to have it under your belt when you start filling out admissions applications (please see: When Should I Take the SAT or ACT?). The only time it is not pertinent to take this test is when you are sure that you will be attending a community college for the first two years of your college career.

Gather the Documentation Needed For Applications

You should know what goes into an application and start gathering everything you need early in the year. The information and documentation that must be provided to complete your application for consideration can add up, and the process is much more stressful when you do not have what you need. You will need to submit your application forms, fees, high school transcript, final transcript, admission test scores, essays, letters of recommendation, portfolios and interviews before your college application is complete. While each application varies, it is best to have all of this ready so that the last thing you have to worry about is failing to request a copy of your transcripts.

Find Out if You Can Apply Online or On Paper

Once you sift through all of the schools and select the colleges you would like to apply to, it is time to start filling out the applications. Some colleges encourage students to apply online because reviewing your information online is much easier. To persuade students to use online forms, many colleges waive the $30 to $50 application fee. If the school requires you to fill out a paper application, allow ample time for mailing all of the documentation. Check to see if the school is part of the Common Application, where over 400 independent colleges accept a single application. This can make applying to multiple schools easier and less expensive.

High school academic performance, standardized test scores, essays and interview answers will all play a role in whether or not you are granted acceptance into a school. Your financial need and background could also be helpful factors. Be sure that you are prepared for the road ahead by gathering the necessary documents. Once you have everything ready, apply to colleges and select your best option.