The Top 10 things you need to know about College Applications

It is the most wonderful time of the year!  It is almost time to submit college applications for Fall 2017!  

I love this time of year!  It is so exciting and rewarding to help students through the application process.  In this article, I will outline some of the basics of the college admissions process to get you started.

1. Identify which schools you would like to apply to.  I recommend having 5 dream schools, 5 realistic schools and 5 slam dunk schools.  

2. Know your deadlines.  Each school will have different deadlines that you need to meet.  When does the application process close?  When do you need to have your transcript sent?  What is the date to have your test scores in?  Do they require an interview?

3. Know which application to use.  Most schools will accept the Common Application for a list of schools who will accept this application, check here.  If your school choice isn't listed, then check to see what application they use.  Some schools offer their own application in addition to the Common Application.  If given the choice, I recommend using the schools specific application.  For students who live in Texas, they can use the Apply Texas Application for Texas State Schools.

4. Have your information ready to go before beginning your applications.  Make sure you have a completed resume as well as your needed information such as high school name, address, counselor contact information, transcripts  etc.......   Having these items readily available and organized in a way that you can find what you need will save you valuable time later in the process.  

5. Have 3-4 excellent essays ready to go.  This step is important and deserves appropriate attention.  Your essays are the best chance you have to give information about you that isn't displayed on the application.  This is your place to shine.  

6. Know your numbers - Have your GPA weighted and unweighted and your SAT and ACT test scores ready.  Each application will ask for this information.

7. Have letters of recommendation ready in advance.  Ask for letters of recommendation from teachers and counselors as well as people who know you in the community.  Asking alumni from the school of interest can also be helpful.  Have these ready to go.  Often, the application will ask for the email of these individuals so the letters can be sent directly to the school.  Others, will allow you to include them.  

8. Pay attention to detail.  Make sure that you give each application the attention needed and that you have no mistakes on the application.  This isn't the time to be sloppy.  Read over it, read over it again and then take a screen shot or make a copy of each application you send.  This is important in case you are asked to interview, you will be able to remember what you had on that specific application.

9. This one seems obvious, but many students forget this one.  Make sure to create a new email that will be used for the college admissions process only.  Make sure to send all college applications and correspondence through this email.  Make sure the email is something that represents you in a classy, professional manner.  

10.  Clean up your social media.  This may not be at the top of your college application checklist, but it should be.  Statistics show that admissions counselors are looking at you on social media.  Make sure it portrays the "you" that you want them to see.