Four Easy Steps to Ensure Your College Application Process Goes Smoothly
All that work figuring out where you will actually apply, and you are just now finally getting around to filling out an admissions application. Feel good about all the effort you’ve put into your search to date because you are far better prepared than the students who haven’t taken the time to research and you are likely in line to save more money on your higher education.
Steps to Remember When Applying to Colleges
- Don’t Get Hung Up on Knowing Exactly What You Want to Study
- Identify at Least Six Colleges that You Feel Comfortable Applying to for Admission
- Complete Your Admissions Applications
- Don’t Make a Decision of Where You Will be Going to College Anytime this Fall
Don’t Get Hung Up on Knowing Exactly What You Want to Study
It’s great if you know your chosen field, but it is not critical to the admissions application process. Many schools will allow you to apply as “undecided” or under the general “liberal arts” banner. Even if you do apply under one major and decide a year or two later to change your major, you are not alone – half of all college students change their major at least once.
Identify at Least Six Colleges that You Feel Comfortable Applying to for Admission
We cannot stress enough the importance of avoiding the idea that there are only one or two schools worth applying to. That is a recipe for financial disaster. Try to get in as many campus visits as you can. The more college campuses you visit, the easier it is to identify what you want in a college. Applying to multiple colleges will give you real options when it comes time to decide where you will ultimately go for your first year. Applying to multiple schools is also an important aspect of securing the best opportunities for the monies available from different colleges. Here again, don’t think that your choice will be set in stone – one third of all college students transfer to another college at least once.
Complete Your Admissions Applications
We recommend you complete and submit your admissions applications by the end of October. If the schools require letters of recommendation, make sure you get your letter requests to your teachers, guidance counselors, pastors, etc. as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the better the chance they will have more requests they will have to sort through.
And here’s a recommendation letter tip that will be a huge help: use your resume or write up a recommendation cheat sheet you can give to those you ask to recommend you (no more than one page). Be sure to include your high schools activities, interests, achievements, etc. This will be a big help to those who are trying to sort through 30 or 40 or more different letter requests.
Don’t Make a Decision of Where You Will be Going to College Anytime this Fall
You still don’t know what college is going to cost you. There is no other purchase that you would make without knowing what the cost is, so don’t start now. You still have the financial applications to go through. Most of the financial application won’t be available to you until next January (the FAFSA form). Some colleges will want a CSS Profile, but even that isn’t available until October or November. 99% of the time, you should wait until the financial forms are filed and you have the financial award offers back from the schools before you should make any decision of what school to choose. That typically doesn’t happen until March or April.