So, you’re ready to fly the nest and begin the next phase of your life. College. College is that gateway between being a teenager and turning into a young adult. You want to make it the best years of your life and go to the college of your choice. But, first, you need to apply and get into your college. To avoid disappointment, have three favorite schools picked out.This way, if, for some reason, you don’t get into the one, you still have two others you are looking forward to! Here are five tips on applying to the college of your choice:
Picking the right College
- Size of the school. How big/small do you want it to be?
- If you’re going to school to become a Dr, make sure the school has a great relationships with hospitals to start your internship.
- See the statistics of students hired into their career choice.
- Clubs that they have that align with your values and what you are looking to accomplish as you get older.
- The town the college is in. Are you looking for a metropolis or a small town?
- Does the school have the groups you are interested in such as Sorority/Fraternity?
Write a Pros and Cons list. What are your deal breakers? Or, what can you compromise on? Then narrow your list down. As mentioned, have three favorites. Then have three or four more that you wouldn’t mind going to if you don’t get into your top three. You should avoid getting into the double digits with choices. One, if you get accepted into multiple, that makes it much harder to pick from 20 schools as opposed to 6 schools. And, can you imagine the cost for application fees alone?? If you’re able to do school visits, make sure to do those as well. This will give you an even better idea of what you will be getting into.
Create a To-Do List
Once you know what schools you want to apply to, write down everything you need to get done to start the process. Part of this list will also come from reviewing your chosen schools website to see their registration requirements. You want to make sure you know exactly what you have to do to apply properly. And make sure you have your deadlines written down! You don’t want to lose out on your chance because you missed a deadline. If the school has school visits, check to see if they have certain dates, or can you just schedule an appointment anytime.
Fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The FAFSA will tell you how much you are eligible for in federal loans if you need to take them out. It will also tell how much is the expected contribution from your parents. This is an important factor to make sure you are able to afford the school of your choice. You can also find out if your schools have work/study programs to help with the cost of your tuition and dorm fees.
If you’re still not sure you can afford college here in the US, another option would be to look at colleges in other countries. This is a great option for various reasons. Education may be cheaper, or even free. You learn a new culture and you get to travel places you wouldn’t have thought you could before. Read my previous post on the cost of college around the world. Germany is particularly welcoming to American students!
Start the application process
So, you’ve chosen your colleges and you’re ready to start applying. As stated above, make sure to read the websites to find out the registration process and deadlines. Complete the applications and write your essays. Make sure you proofread your essays! Or have a professional do it for you. I strongly recommend that you also include a High School resume with your application packet. You can get a free resume template by subscribing to my blog! This resume will highlight your high school career to the submissions committee on one sheet. Make it easier for them.
For your references, talk to your counselors and teachers. If you’ve done volunteer work, ask the coordinator if they will write you a reference. Make sure to give them enough notice to write a well thought out letter. And thank them for their support.
Let your essay reflect who you are. This is your way to shine and is the only opportunity you will have to show them who you are.
Keep copies of everything you have completed!
Approximately two weeks after sending your application packets in, follow up with the school. Reach out to them to make sure they received your packet. If there was anything missing, make sure you get it to them immediately. Ask if it’s something that can be scanned and emailed to them, or, if it has to be mailed in.
These are just five tips on applying to the college of your choice. If you’ve gone through the process, what would you add to this list for our current high school students getting ready to start the process?
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