The Most Comprehensive Guideline on Applying for College
Сollege application process in the United States is quite difficult, so it requires lots of planning and research in order to make everything properly. Depending on your aspirations, devotions and skills applying process can be either very simple, too complex in the middle.
In this article we will give you detailed guidelines and tips on how to apply to a US college and not go nuts. Except college requires a lot of assignment writing, which will eventually drive you crazy. But first, you have to apply and get accepted!
Every process, especially when it may influence your future, requires attention to the slightest details. That is why you need to prepare for the application well in advance.
First and the most important thing you need to remember is that there are thousands of various educational institutions in the United States, so if you want to go to college, you will definitely have such an opportunity.
Almost every institution accepts every person applying for college and there is only a limited number of elite establishments, which have high competition. Understanding that you will surely get into college gives you a more relaxed approach and saves yourself from stress and anxiety of not knowing what to expect from the future.
However, such universities like Stanford, Harvard, Duke, etc. get thousands and thousands of requests from the best students across the world, so if you want to enter one of them, you need to be ready well in advance.
Not to feel disappointed and to save your own time, make sure your school grades and skills match with requirements of the college or university you have chosen.
Meet college requirements while you are still in school
It is a nice idea to find out what requirements a particular college has, because you may need some time to meet all of them. For example, there are colleges, which require some statistics and calculus completion. There are also some universities, which focus on humanities.
One of the first steps to apply for college is to provide the board with your previous records. This allows them to see whether you are a right fit regarding academic success. Having high grades on necessary subjects will greatly improve your chances of being accepted.
You should also remember about social and sports activities, because the more involved in community you are, the higher your chances of participating in campus life will be.
Complete an academic equivalent
Applicants have different backgrounds, especially when it comes to their age. For example, 39% of potential students in the US are younger than 21, 45% are 22-39, and 15% are older than 40. That is why you need to find out what previous educational background is necessary and how to include it to your letter for a particular college.
Pass necessary tests
Most of the colleges require first-year scholars to pass an ACT or SAT. These are tests, which aim to evaluate your knowledge and skills in order to see whether you are ready for college.
You need to get familiar with your college’s requirements in advance, because it may have no requirements at all or ask you to pass one test or the other.
Choosing a college
Some students have a clear understanding of what college or university they would want to enter. However, for most of the scholars it becomes quite a difficult task and we are ready to share a few tips with you!
Nowadays you can apply for college even online, so there is no need to wander from one place to another, trying to find the best one. You can just type in your request in the search bar and find institutions, which have majors you are interested in, a perfect location, size, etc.
Before starting the process, you need to have a clear vision of what your priorities are: activities you like, people you’d like to communicate with, state you prefer, major you want to get a degree in and much more. Colleges greatly differ in the subjects, support and activities they provide, so check their websites properly to find out all the necessary details.
Once you choose a preferred college, you can visit specific sections of their website to get more detailed information on how to apply for college online and what requirements they have.
If you don’t want to postpone the process or don’t trust computers, you can call the school’s managers or sign in to their website. Very soon you will receive a huge amount of details about their college.
Remember to complete this step well in advance, because some colleges have quite unusual dates of delivery or a specific list of required classes. If you don’t want to miss out the opportunity, always stay tuned and ready.
Shorten the list
Once you become a high school junior, you should already have a shortened list of schools and to know how to apply for college with your background. The best advice we can give is to visit several schools during your summer break and decide which you like more based on the information they have given you.
In October you should already know what college you want to apply to and what their requirements on scores and references are. You should have several weeks in advance to fill in the application without any rush. You may need lots of information, so having enough time is a must.
Never choose a college, which you don’t like. Even if your friends are going there and it seems quite a good option in terms of your average score or location. When choosing a college, you greatly predetermine your future, so this decision should be wise and thorough.
Completing a common application
This section is probably the most important one, so we have divided it into seven stages.
Apply only if it meets your interests
This advice sounds very simple and ordinary, but it is of key importance, because applying to college may influence your whole life, so you need to choose an institution you really like. Even if you are tempted to attend a college next to your house, because it is convenient or go to a university because your school crush has already entered it, think twice!
Once you proceed to complete the application form, you need to be ready to answer a series of questions to prove that you are not only qualified but have the same interests and priorities, as the college requires.
Make sure you fit their requirements
Most of the colleges ask applicants to complete an essay, which should be unique and outstanding to catch board’s attention. If you want to learn how to apply to college, you should always start with an app essay.
There are hundreds of examples online, so you can choose the one, which reflects your own interests and tailor it based on the requirements of the college. However, your essay should be original and always written from scratch. You should also read our application essay prompts to get the general idea.
Writing an essay is surely the most challenging task for the majority of students, because talking about oneself and showing your weaknesses to unknown people requires courage. However, the process may be fun and give you additional scores if written properly.
Decide who can help with letters of recommendations
When you are planning and getting ready to apply to college, you should think well in advance who will be ready to write your letters of recommendation. It should be a person you can trust. Someone, who is responsible enough and will send out the letter without any reminders.
However, try to ask them to write the letter beforehand and from time to time keep track whether they are following their promise. It is a good idea to choose teachers, who distinguish you from the rest or who know your personality, not only academic success.
In the majority of cases institutions require recommendation letters from teachers, so here is evidence that you need to perform well in the class and to achieve the highest possible grades. This is another secret if you want to learn how do you apply for college.
If there are teachers, who show their friendship and are willing to help, don’t hesitate to ask them. Don’t forget to start the process well in advance, because the chosen teacher may need to write several letters, which requires time.
Check everything line by line
Once you have completed your application form, you need to check it thoroughly. You won’t have a second chance to make a first impression, so your application should be flawless. There shouldn’t be any grammar, lexical or any other mistakes.
When you are sure your application is perfect, submit it without hesitations. The earlier you send it, the better impression you will have on the board.
We are often asked ‘How do I apply for college?’ and the answer is simple: complete everything on time to show that you are serious and can manage your tasks correctly.
Admission committee has a limited amount of time for every application depending on achievements and credentials. That is why include all the information, which may help you to stand out from the rest: GPA, test grades, additional points and activities.
Complete every application till January
In a majority of cases, you will need to submit your application before January, while you are in a Senior year. This will give the institution enough time to read your letters and make a decision. Usually, by the first of April, you will already know whether you are accepted or not. Then you will have one month to decide whether you really want to go there.
When you apply to colleges at a lower level, you can leave an application almost any time and they will need only a few weeks to make a decision.
There are non-famous institutions, which have free seats even in August, so if you don’t get an offer in spring, you can proceed to work on your applications to find a school that will accept you later.
Thanks people, who wrote your recommendations
You should never forget to remain grateful for the time people spend on helping you to improve your application. That is why almost every guideline, which explains how to apply to colleges reminds students to thank everyone, who agreed to help you and wrote letters of recommendations.
Without their assistance, you might not have been offered a place in the college of your dreams!
Opt for financial help once you are accepted
When you receive a confirmation letter, saying that you have been accepted, it is necessary to opt for financial aid. You should go straight to FAFSA and may get a certain discount to partially cover the tuition fee. In such a way you will get a chance for higher education and will save your family’s budget without any efforts.
Applying college has never been easy, but it is definitely worth it!