The College Application Process
The college application process can feel quite overwhelming. In a sense, it is the biggest organizational project that a high school student has ever undertaken. It is a compilation of grades, test scores, recommendations, and personal details that can lead to stress if left to the last minute. Therefore, it is crucial that a student stay organized and set a schedule so that he/she can tackle each piece of the application process one step at a time. But it is important to acknowledge that each step is different and therefore requires different skills. -Personal information. This section of an application is often the easiest to fill out and not a bad place to begin if a student is feeling anxious about the application process. Though it is not as intellectually stimulating as other sections, the feelings of accomplishment once marked off of the list are just as real. - Personal essay. This section required much time and the student should expect to write several drafts. Start by brainstorming creative ideas that will grab the admissions counselor’s attention, then write an outline. After the first draft a student should find an adult or a trustworthy peer to edit the piece. A final edit will complete this process. Make sure that the student doesn’t rewritten piece already written for school: it is important that the essay really answer the question addressed in the application as well as be a well written, sophisticated piece. -Test scores. Be sure to research ahead of time to see what test scores the school requires. It may be either the ACT or the SAT. Then make sure to study! Even if the test taker is an excellent student, these tests are in a particular style that is easier to score higher on when a student is familiar with this style. Also the tests last for several hours so taking practice test can help you build up the mental “endurance”. -Recommendation letters. Although this part of the application seems like the least work for the student, it needs to be one of the first steps on the checklist because teachers are busy! Teachers need time to write a good recommendation so give them the form provided by the school as well as a pre addressed, stamped envelope. Also, do not be afraid! High school students are still maturing and may feel awkward asking a teacher to do this favor for them. Remember that this is part of their job description and most teachers embrace the opportunity to help out their good students. -Resume. It helps to write out a resume to highlight a student’s skills, work and volunteer experience, and extra curricular activities. This is an opportunity to show off and let the school know what a motivated, well-rounded candidate the student is. Staying organized, and taking each application step by step is truly the key to a stress-free application process. To learn more about the types of student loans available you could visit How To Pay Student Loans .