Our college application checklist can be a helpful tool as you navigate the college application maze.
You’re entering your Senior year of high school, or maybe your son or daughter is. It’s an exciting time, the culmination of three years of hard work (well, maybe not so hard sometimes, but you get my point). You are finally at the top of the high school food chain, and the finish line is almost in sight. But wait a minute, there is still so much to do!
- Are your SAT scores where you want them?
- Is the list of colleges you want to apply to complete?
- How many colleges should you even apply to?
- What should your college application essay be about?
- Is it smart to apply early acceptance?
- How do I get all of this done, and still focus on my schoolwork?
These are just some of the questions that students and families have as the last year of high school gets underway, and they can be incredibly stressful.With that in mind, here is our college application checklist, as well as some thoughts about how to handle the process.
1.) Narrow down your list of colleges.
This can be daunting, as there are in the neighborhood of 5,000 degree granting colleges in the United States. There are a number of factors to consider, including the course of study you’re interested in, geography, size of the campus, along with the odds of being accepted. We suggest to our students that a good number of schools to apply to is eight. A couple of “safety” schools, a couple of “reach schools” and then a few schools that are right in the middle and that you feel you have a reasonable chance of being accepted to.
2.) Make a list of deadlines.
Some of your schools will have similar deadlines, while others will be a month earlier or later.
The next few months will go by quickly, so do yourself a favor and keep track of these dates.
In our tutoring and college application packages, we help families by using simple charts and spreadsheets that keep track of all the vital information, so nothing gets forgotten or creeps up on us. 3.) If possible, visit campuses. There is no substitute for physically being in a place and experiencing it.
Getting a feel for the campus, the students, professors, and the area itself is an invaluable tool in deciding whether you want to spend the next four years there.
Another option is to wait until you receive your acceptances, and from there decide which campuses you would like to visit before making your decision.
4.) Make sure your SAT or ACT test scores are in order.
If you’ve taken them once or twice, and are happy with your score, you’re all set. If you would like to take one more crack at them, this is your last chance. There is a test in October, and another in November, so get registered if need be. Check out the College Board site for information on registration and dates.
5.) Register for the Common Application.
Begin figuring out which colleges on your list accept it. For the ones that don’t, find out what their process is, and what materials are required. Even for the ones that do take the Common App, find out which of your colleges require supplements, as they can sometimes be time consuming and require writing additional essays. In our next post, the list continues…