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  Step 5: Applying for College
Step 5 will help you complete the college application. The entire college application process can be time-consuming. There are numerous steps and supporting documents you must gather and submit to the college’s admission office. If you start early and stay organized, you will complete your college application(s) in a timely fashion and keep your stress level to a minimum.

The following steps will help you with the application process:
Keeping Track of the Applications
Addmissions Process
Supporting Documents
Completing and Creating a Competitive Application
Completing an Online Application
Putting the Application Package Together
Submitting Your Application - On-time
The College Interview
The Waiting Game
After being admitted to a College

Keeping Track of Applications
Once you start receiving the college applications and gathering supporting documents, create a separate file folder for each college. Write the name of each college and deadline date on the tab or front of the folder. Everything that you receive and gather (i.e. brochures, recommendation letter, resume, application, etc.) for each college should be place in this folder. File folders will also keep everything clean and neat, especially the college applications.

To help you remember important dates and stay on track, you should buy a calendar and mark the deadline date for each application and other important date(s), and place it where you will constantly see it.

Admissions Process
The admissions process will vary for each college. Each college that you apply to typically requires the following items:
College Application
It is very important to read and follow the application’s instructions. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call the colleges' admissions office. Failure to follow instructions and/or submit the supporting documents requested may disqualify your application. Remember, each college application has its own set of rules and deadline dates, so follow the instructions carefully.

College applications request the same basic information from each applicant, such as:
Personal Information
Intended Major
High School Education (i.e. Grade Point Average, Course Work, Class Rank, etc.)
Test Scores (i.e. ACT, SAT, etc.)
College Education (For Transfer Students)
Extracurricular Activities
Achievements, Awards, Honors
Supporting Documents
Most colleges request supporting documents to accompany your completed application. Supporting documents give the admission’s committee a “3 Dimensional Picture” of you. These documents can tell the committee more about you than your answers on the application. In many cases, supporting documents have been the deciding factor as to who is admitted or denied admission to college.

There are various types of supporting documents such as:
Academic Transcript
An academic transcript is an official record of all your grades from high school or college. It is not the same as your report card. If you attended more than one school, you will need to request a transcript from each school. In order to save yourself some time, order several transcripts from your school and place them in a clean envelope/folder.

It is important that you follow the application’s instructions about how to submit your transcript. Some colleges prefer to have the transcript mailed directly to them, while others like to have it included with the completed college application package. If you are instructed to have your school mail the transcript directly to the college admission’s office, it is important to provide your school with the correct mailing address to ensure that the college receives the application. You should also contact your school to confirm that they mailed your transcripts. If you are instructed to include your transcript with your application, do not open or tamper with the sealed envelope the transcript may come in.
Essay / Personal Statement
Most colleges will request applicants to write an essay or personal statement. Colleges typically specify a topic and the essay’s length, which can rang from one paragraph to no more than two double-spaced, typed pages. The essay/personal statement is one of the most important parts of any application. Without an essay/personal statement, every application will look the same with the same basic information (i.e. grades, financial need, extracurricular activities, etc.). The essay is a key factor in deciding whether an applicant is granted admission or invited to an interview.

The essay/personal statement is a self-portrait of you. It offers an insightful view of yourself (i.e. values, experiences, dream, etc.), your method of thinking, ability to communicate, and write effectively. It provides an added dimension to the application. You may be able to reuse or revise previous essays written for other college or scholarship applications. This does not mean that you should write one very general essay/personal statement to use for every college or scholarship application. If you reuse an essay that you wrote previously, you must revise it and tailor it to each college. Your essay can make or break your application.

Letters of Recommendation
Most colleges will request two or three letters of recommendation from individuals that you know, such as a reference. Letters of recommendation allow the admission’s committee to form an idea of who you are as an individual through someone else's opinion. These letters can be extremely important, and they should reveal information about you that is not necessarily mentioned in your application, test scores, etc. A good letter of recommendation can often be persuasive to the admissions committee, especially if there is a “borderline” decision between you and another applicant. For more information about ‘Who to ask to write a letter of recommendation, click here.
Standardized Test Score(s)
If you are a high school student, you may have to submit an official copy of your most recent SAT or ACT Test score(s) with most of your college applications. A copy of your official SAT and ACT test scores must be requested from the testing organization. The test registration booklet and your score report should tell you how to request additional score reports. When you request additional score reports, you will have to pay a fee and provide the code of the college to which the score report is being sent to. For more information about Standardized Tests: ACT, SAT, or GRE (for Graduate students), click here.

You can request additional score reports online:
ACT Score
SAT Score

In order to save time, you should also begin preparing and gathering some of these supporting documents before the application arrives. Once you have this information, it is wise to keep all of your documents in an oversized envelope or folder to keep them clean and neat. Remember - first impressions are lasting impressions. So be CLEAN and NEAT! The importance of planning ahead cannot be overstated.
Application Fee
Generally, there is a non-refundable fee for processing your application. Application fees vary from school to school. Fee waivers are available for students that qualify. Before you enclose your check or money order, make sure it is addressed to the appropriate school with the proper amount. Don’t send the Northeastern check to Northwestern.

Click here for the next page>>
Completing and Creating a Competitive Application

Written by: Sedgwick Hines Copyright 2004 AvScholars Publishing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


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