Applying to College

thumbs_up.jpgThere's a right way and wrong way to approach college applications.

Take the time to get organized and make sure your application is accurate and on time. Your college application should create a consistent portrait of who you are and what you'll bring to the college. It should be filled out honestly and carefully. The following is a list of common college admission application requirements:

Application Form

Most schools ask you to apply online, but paper applications are still available upon request at some colleges. Be sure to list colleges/universities you have attended for courses or credits you have earned that may not be reflected upon your high school transcript. For example, Post Secondary Enrollment Options Program course credits may transfer and count toward your degree.

Application Fee

Some colleges do not charge a fee; others charge as much as $60. Many colleges offer fee waivers for applicants from low-income families.

High School Transcript

An official of your high school, often your high school counselor, sends official copies of your transcript to your colleges and universities. If your high school counselor is also required to submit a recommendation, you should give the proper forms to the counselor's office as early as possible.

Entrance Exam Scores

At many colleges, entrance exam scores are a standard way of measuring a student's ability to do college-level work. Your ACT or SAT scores are generally part of your high school transcript, but if you re-take an exam, you may need to send your scores separately or ask your high school officer to re-send your transcripts.

Letters of Recommendation

When asking a teacher, coach, supervisor, or mentor to write a letter of recommendation or fill out a recommendation form, you should be sure to do so well before the college's deadline. Don’t be afraid to follow up to be sure he or she has provided your recommendation.

Essay

Take the opportunity to express your individuality in a way that sets you apart from other applicants.

Interview

It's a good idea to set up an interview, even if it's not required, because it gives you a chance to make a personal connection with someone who will have a voice in deciding whether or not you'll be offered admission. If the college or university does not offer individual interviews for admission, schedule a campus visit. It is your opportunity to “interview” college representatives to see if it is a good fit for you.