Step by Step guide to applying for college
Time went faster than you anticipated. You made a pact with yourself that you wouldn't procrastinate with college admissions. Where do you go from here?
1. Get Organized - Take the time to find an organizational system that works for you to keep track of everything. Whether that is a planner, calendar, or a reminder system on your phone, keeping all of your tasks and upcoming deadlines organized is a HUGE first step in applying for college. There are many things to do before moving into the college of your choice and a missed deadline can really put a road block in your application process. So take a few minutes each day and look at what your next step is!
2. Build a resume - All college applications will ask for information that is on your resume. They will want to know about : Courses taken in high school, school activities, extracurricular events, work experience, community service, awards, honors and recommendations from others. Make sure your contact information is clearly presented on your resume. This is where you get to brag about all the hard work you put in during high school so don’t hold anything back! Make yourself stand out… Even the smallest detail can really make a difference!
3. Make a list of schools you are interested in - We, at Imagine College Coaching recommend 3 schools that may possibly give you money, 3 schools that are a perfect match for you and 3 dream schools. Look into schools you haven’t even heard of, you never know, one might surprise you! Sometimes students go into the college application process thinking they know exactly where they want to go, but then they tour a school that wasn’t even on their original list and fall in love with it! Make sure you know what you’re looking for. Some students can thrive in an auditorium classroom of 200 people but others do better in small classes of 25. Knowing what you like is important when making your list of schools. Remember, don’t get overwhelmed, this is an exciting life journey so enjoy it!
4. Join the mailing lists of schools you are interested in - There is no better way to get first hand information from the schools you are interesting in than from the schools themselves. Colleges and Universities will send a ton of information through the mail. Like, upcoming tour dates, special visitation days, enrollment information, majors/ minors they offer, financial aid and more! Nothing beats the feeling of getting that acceptance letter in the mail!
5. Schedule a tour - For a lot of students, the college tour is what really seals the deal for where they decide they want to go to school, I know mine did. Being on campus, in person is really a motivating feeling. You will know when you walk on campus if you could call it home. Taking campus tours is much better than any brochure, and they will have guides that can answer any of the questions you might have. You will get a first hand look at classrooms, dorms, student organizations, and more! You can go on any college website and schedule a tour online!
6. Get to know your admissions counselors - When going on an official college tour, most schools will have a portion of the day where you meet with one of their admissions counselors. If not offered in the tour, you can always request one. It is always a good idea to have a face to face conversation with someone who knows the university or college best, they can offer information that might not have been offered in the mail and research you already have. Also, the more personal and persistent you are, the more inclined the admissions counselors will be in working hard and advocating for you!
7. Write your essays - This is your chance to shine and really stand out from the crowd. Be honest and personal when writing your essays. These are how the college and scholarship organizations really gets to know you. It is important that you put a lot of time and thought into your essays and make them clean and organized. Remember, you’re applying to EDUCATIONAL institutes, so make them sound educated. Don’t forget, any school would be lucky to have you!
8. Fill out the applications - Applications, I am not gonna lie, are one of the worst steps of the whole process. They are long and ask you all the same questions over and over again, but sadly, they must be done. You will have to fill out a lot of applications, FAFSA, college/ university applications, scholarship applications, housing applications, and more… So it is always good to keep all your answers consistent! Also, many applications will ask for personal information so it is always good to have that written down or in front of you before starting the application process.
9. Be sure to check on the status of your application - Often times they will contact you requesting more information from you and you do not want to miss those! Like I said before, deadlines are HUGE when applying for college. Any delay of documents or other types of information needed can really set you back in not only admission but also scholarships, housing and class selection.
Applying for college can feel scary, exciting, overwhelming and relieving but the most important thing to remember is you have gotten this far so keep going! Once all the paper work and details are done, and you have made your decision about where you want to go to college it is only up hill from there!