Introduction: Completing College Application

HS seniors college admittance guide

Once you find the colleges you would like to attend, your next task is to submit the required documents for college admission.

There are only a few admissions slots compared to the number of application received. So prepare your application submission carefully.

A good site to review is myfootpath.com. It provides the inside intelligence on how each college's admission system works: myfootpath.com

When You Should Complete These Tasks

A General Guide to Follow

Hedge Your Bets

Submit your several applications to an assembled list of colleges or trade schools you'd like to attend.

There are three categories of schools you should submit your application to:

  1. 2-3 schools that you could definitely get in
  2. 4-5 schools that you could probably get in
  3. 7-8 schools that you would like to get in

    You should budget on how much you can afford for application submission. You may need to narrow your search to 3-3-3.

 

Submit Your Application On-Time

Note the application deadlines for all of your schools.

  • Early application submission is usually November 1.
  • General application submission may be in January or February.

Get your complete application in early.

 

Show Strong Academic Achievements

The stronger your academics, the better your chances for admission.

If this area is weak, try to make it up by college admittance test scores, strong essays, and a demonstration of outside leadership.

 

Show Strong Non-Academic Achievements

Athletic, music, art, or other non-academic disciplines can be a plus for many college admissions. It can give you an advantage when your application is compared with a similar application of academic achievement.

 

Study for the Standardized Tests

It is impossible to go back in time to improve your academic scores. But you can study hard to achieve high college admittance test scores.

An above-average test score is NOT an automated ticket to admission. But it does add points in your favor with many colleges. Submitting your application with high test scores, good essays and recommendations, and a fair academic record can get you in many colleges.

SAT/ACT exam prep and samples

 

Submit Good Essays and Recommendations

Here is an opportunity to show your creativeness and leadership skills by writing strong essays and having good recommendations from leaders in your school and community.

We recommend that your essays get reviewed by a professional writer prior to submission. Submitting an essay that is structurally weak and grammatically incorrect can destroy your chances of being admitted.

view coupons for essay writing services

 

Display Leadership

Finally, colleges admit applicants who display leadership skills from their participation in clubs, communities, church groups, and other extracurricular activities. Being just a "member" of a club does not carry as much weight as compared with an applicant who displayed leadership capabilities.

 

Final Work

Note that competition for admission can be fierce for the top schools. It helps to have good academics, high test scores, strong essays, and good recommendations.

Your application is one of thousands that must be reviewed by the college's admissions staff. Submit the best application that you can.

Making a College Comparison

HS seniors college admittance guide

Compare your choice of schools head-to-head and take a virtual tour of the campus. Begin grouping your college choices and rank them based on your selection criteria.

Use this worksheet to keep a college comparison report:
FREE download

  • College Comparison and Profiles
    compare colleges by region and cost:
    nces.ed.gov
    you can profile two or more colleges on cost, student size, teacher ratio, and other criteria:
    collegeboard.com
  • College Rankings
    view college rankings by school criteria and other rankings
    view rankings in our tool set
  • Take a Virtual Tour
    this is good place to start prior to making an actual visit. See online videos of school campus and other virtual places:
    campustours.com

You should plan to make a college visit before submitting your application.

The cost to attend college can be high for many schools. So make sure this is the right school for you. Start to arrange campus visits with your select colleges and meet with college recruiters that visit your school.

Tips When Visiting a Campus

Take notes and pictures when visiting a campus. This will help you make a comparison when it comes time to make a final decision:

  • Plan to visit the college for a full day.
    Attend when the school is in session, if possible.
  • Arrange an interview with the admission office
    or other "campus visit" groups
  • Meet with the financial aid office
    to get all related financial aid information offered by that school
  • When doing a visit,
    check out the library, student unions, sporting facilities, and academic centers. Walk the campus to familiarize yourself with the layout.
  • Review housing facilities and dormitories
    to determine whether to live on-campus or off-campus housing. Note the college rules for housing. Some colleges require first-time Freshmen to live in dormitories.
  • Schedule time to speak with students and faculty. Visit the clubs and societies that are part of the campus life. Check campus rules, safety programs, and facilities that maintain the safety of the campus.
  • Drive around the surrounding community
    to familiarize yourself with restaurants, theaters, rec areas, job opportunities, etc.

Note Submission Deadlines

HS seniors college admittance guide

Early Admission: deadlines are in October - November
Regular Admissions: deadlines are in early January - February

Submit all required documents at least two weeks before the deadline. The earlier the better.

Calendar Dates

Senior Year: August-September

  • Select the colleges or schools that you desire to attend.
  • Obtain the applications from the school. You can easily get the application online or through your school counselor.
  • Decide who you will ask to write your recommendations. Give this person plenty of time (at least 2-3 weeks prior to your request date).
  • Keep a track of important dates. You don't want to miss a deadline.

 

Senior Year: September-October

  • Begin working on your essays.
  • Collect your letters of recommendations. Be sure to formally thank your recommender.
  • Complete the application in preparation for submission (early submission dates are usually November 1 for most schools).
  • Make plenty of copies of your essays, letters of recommendations and application.

 

November-January

  • Complete applications for early and regular admissions. Many of these submissions can be made online.
  • Early submissions are usually due by November 01. Regular submissions are usually in January and February. Check your college for submission dates.
  • Start looking for housing during this time. If you school requires first-time student to live in approved housing, start making arrangements. The best units can go fast.

 

February-March

  • Get your school transcripts sent to your intended schools. See your guidance counselor.
  • Your school should be sending out acceptance letters. If you haven't heard from your school, contact them to make sure your application is complete (they may be waiting for a transcript or other item).

 

April-June

  • Finalize your admissions requirements:

    — housing
    — final transcript
    — registrations
    — medical checks
    — other

Prepare the College Application

HS seniors college admittance guide

You need to start your college application to meet submission deadlines:

  • Early Admission:
    deadlines are in early November
  • Regular Admission:
    deadlines are in January-February.

What's needed this month:

  1. Request an application form from each of your colleges.
  2. Your college admissions application will most likely require 1- 2 essays. Use the weekends to write and edit your essays.
  3. Most college admissions require 1-2 recommendations from teachers and/or community leaders. Select who should write your recommendation.
  4. Study for your college entrance exams if you are taking them this fall. Colleges require different college entrance exams. You need to check with your college to determine which exam to take.
  5. Double check your transcripts when you start your senior year. You will need to forward these transcripts to colleges for admission review.
  6. Take a swim, tennis, karate or other class over the fall semester (either with your school or community group). You want to show well-roundness in your application.

Key Elements of the Application

College Application:

Request an application form from each of your colleges. You can find it online or request it from the school.

The package will include the application form, submission requirements (essays, transcripts and other) and self-addressed envelopes for the letters of recommendations.

Many schools use the COMMON application form for application submission. Using the COMMON application form saves you time from completing multiple application forms:
see form at commonapp.org

You can save the COMMON application form online until you are ready to submit it electronically to participating schools

Or get the application from your school — link to your college to submit your application form online or to request a application packet:
use our college search directory for your school's web site

Early Decision Note:
you need to decide if you are going to do early admission.

If so, you will need to have your application completed and ready to submit between October and November of your senior year.

  • The advantage of early decision is that you will know whether you have been accepted by early January.
  • The disadvantage of early decision is that you may be legally bound to attend that school if you are accepted.

So decide on early decisions for schools that are your first choice.

 

College Essays:

Your college admissions application will most likely require 1- 2 essays. Use the weekends to write and edit your essays.

Note that the essay is an important decisional parameter for college admission. So take this seriously.

Essay resource and editing services:
use this resource to edit your essay — you will expert advice from professionals who are experts in college essay review
EssayEdge.com

Quick view: essay writing tips and samples

view coupons for essay writing services

 

College Recommendations:

Most college admissions require 1-2 recommendations from teachers and/or community leaders.

Select who should write your recommendation. Give the person plenty of time (about 3-4 weeks prior to your deadline).

Also provide them a short autobiography, a list of your outside activities, school transcript and a self-addressed envelope as instructed by your college.

Please note that the teacher works with hundreds of students. So get your request in early.

 

School Transcripts:

Double check your transcripts when you start your senior year. You will need to forward these transcripts to colleges for admission review.

Make sure you have the following:

  • all grades are posted correctly
  • all required courses for graduation are listed
  • all required courses for college admittance are listed

It is important that these transcripts are correct and up-to-date. If not, meet with school administration to repair any errors.

 

Extracurriculars:

Take a swim, tennis, karate or other class over the fall semester (either with your school or community group). You want to show well-roundness in your application.

Just the right amount of studies (with good grades) and outside activities. Don't think that a lot of extracurricular activities are a must. You just need to show a balance.

How to build a well-rounded character?

FREE Download
Complete guide on discipline and character building. Has illustrations on the building blocks of success.

view our "building success" module

Take College Exams

HS seniors college admittance guide

Discuss with your guidance counselor about the following college exams:

  • Advance Placement Exams:
    you should consider taking Advanced Placement Exams or CLEP tests in your Junior and Senior years. This allows you to test out of some college courses that can save you time and money.

    The exams are administered each year in the Spring with some preparation required prior to the exam. Check with your school for exam administration, enrollment and information.
  • College Entrance Exams:
    almost all colleges and some trade programs require a college entrance exam. These exams measure your ability to understand college-level materials.

    Most colleges require the SAT college exam; some require the ACT Assessment exam. A few college will require both exams. So check with your college which exam will be required.

More About These Exams

Information about the advanced placement program:

The collegeboard administers the AP exams. This site has all the information you need including test programs and dates:
visit collegeboard.com for more information

amazon bestsellers: AP exam prep

 

College Entrance Exams:

Almost all colleges and some trade programs require a college entrance exam. These exams measure your ability to understand college-level materials. Most colleges require the SAT college exam; some require the ACT Assessment exam. A few college will require both exams. So check with your college which exam will be required.

You will take these exams in your junior year with a possible retake in your senior year. You must take the exams in the Fall so that your scores can be sent to your schools.

SAT/ACT exam prep and samples

 

Get some practice with the college entrance "preparation" exams

It will help on the day of the real exam.

Why take college prep exams:

  • to help prepare for the real test. You will be familiar with the type of questions being asked
  • to help you take tests under time lines. It is important that you work quickly so that you can complete the entire test.
  • to view your strengths and weaknesses for college study. You can then focus on areas to improve your skills.
  • to view how your performance compares with other students who are applying for college

 

About the SAT Tests

SAT Reasoning
The SAT Reasoning Test is a three-hour test that measures a student's ability to reason problems instead of general knowledge. It has three sections: writing, critical reading, and math. Most of the questions are multiple-choice.

SAT Subject Tests
The SAT Subject Tests measure the student's knowledge in specific subjects: English, mathematics, history, science, and languages. SAT Subject Tests are primarily multiple-choice, and each lasts one hour.

more information: collegeboard.org


Information about the PSAT (practice exams):

the PSAT is the test prep exam for the SAT tests. The PSAT is usually offered in October and November through your school. Check with your school counselor for dates.

more information: see collegeboard.org for information


About the ACT Tests

The ACT Assessment® is used by some colleges. The exam has four multiple-choice tests: English, reading, mathematics, and science reasoning.

more information: actstudent.org


ACT test preparation:

some colleges use the ACT test. You need to check your college to determine which test they use for admittance. Many students will take both the SAT and ACT so that they have the right exams for the college of their choice

more information: actstudent.org about ACT exams

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