Every year, there are about 5 million people who go through the process of applying for college. Some of them send applications to small community colleges, while others apply to attend the most prestigious universities in the country.
Regardless of whether you’re planning on attending a community college or attending a university, you should make sure that you understand the college application process prior to putting in a single college application. You’ll doom yourself right from the start in many cases when you apply for college in the wrong way.
Today, we’re going to walk you through the steps that you’ll need to take when applying for college. As long as you follow along with these steps, you should put yourself in a position to start receiving acceptance letters from colleges and universities in no time at all.
Check out the steps below and start taking them as soon as you can.
- 1 Begin by Deciding Which Colleges and Universities You Want to Apply To
- 2 See What the Specific College Application Process Is for Each Individual College and University
- 3 Find Out When Applications Are Due at Different Colleges and Universities
- 4 Gather the Information and Documents You’ll Need to Start Filling Out College Applications
- 5 Spend Your Fair Share of Time Writing the Essays That Colleges and Universities Ask For
- 6 Prepare to Pay a Fee for Each College Application That You Send In
- 7 Get Ready to Take Part in College Interviews in the Near Future
- 8 See If There Are Scholarships, Grants, or Financial Aid You Qualify For Through Colleges and Universities
- 9 Take Each of These Steps When Applying for College
Begin by Deciding Which Colleges and Universities You Want to Apply To
Before you begin applying for college, you’re obviously going to need to figure out which colleges and universities that you would like to apply to. And it’s not always as easy to narrow down your options as you might think.
There are currently about 4,000 colleges and universities scattered throughout the country. It’s going to be up to you to decide which ones you like the most.
You should look for colleges and universities that are in locations that you like. You should also look for ones that offer the right majors based on what you think you want to do with your life.
It’s very easy to get overwhelmed by all your college and university options. But by doing your homework on the options that you’ll have, you should be able to find a handful of colleges and universities that you really like.
See What the Specific College Application Process Is for Each Individual College and University
Once you know which colleges and universities that you’re interested in applying for, you should take trips to their websites to see what each of their college application processes looks like. Most of them will be very similar. But there are some that will be a little bit outside the norm.
You don’t necessarily need to dive headfirst into the college application process for each college and university that interests you right away. In fact, you might be making a big mistake by doing this.
But you should try to get a sense of what a college or university is going to ask for from you when you put in an application through them. It’ll help you to get your hands on everything that you’ll need to finish off a college application down the line.
Find Out When Applications Are Due at Different Colleges and Universities
While you’re looking around on the websites of different colleges and universities to see what their college application process is like, you should make it a point to write down when applications are due at different schools. The last thing that you want to do is miss a deadline and lose out on your chance to attend a college or university that you really like.
Generally speaking, it’s almost always a good idea for you to send college applications in well in advance. It’ll give you a leg up on all those who choose to wait until the very last minute to put in their college applications.
Gather the Information and Documents You’ll Need to Start Filling Out College Applications
Filling out college applications is going to take you some time. You’ll need to include quite a bit of information on the average college application, and you’ll also typically have to attach some important documents to an application as well.
To make this part of the college application process a bit easier, you should try to gather all the information and documents that you’ll need ahead of time. This way, you’ll have everything that you’ll need handy and ready to go.
As far as information is concerned, here is some of what you’ll need to fill out most college applications:
- Personal information about yourself (your hometown, your age, your family, etc.)
- Information about your high school (the name of your school, the location of your school, the size of your school, etc.)
- Information about your grades and SAT scores
- Information about any extracurricular activities you took part in
As far as documents go, you’ll need to have things like your high school transcripts and letters of recommendation from your teachers, coaches, etc. You should try to get these things ASAP so that you’re not left to scramble for them later.
When you’re applying for college, almost all of the colleges and universities that you apply for will want you to write at least one essay for them. These essays enable schools to find out more about prospective students and what they might bring to the table.
Some people will try to get away with writing one generic essay and sending it out to all the colleges and universities that they send applications to. But you should try not to do this.
Instead, you should take the time to write original essays for each college and university that you are interested in attending. You’ll get a much better reaction to these essays and will increase your chances of getting more acceptance letters back.
You might also want to ask others to take a look at your essays before you start sending them in with your applications. This will give you an opportunity to improve upon them and make them as good as they can be.
Prepare to Pay a Fee for Each College Application That You Send In
One thing that you’ll want to keep in the back of your mind when you’re applying for college is that it is going to cost you some money. Most colleges and universities charge those applying for their schools a fee.
The good news is that the average college application fee is only about $43. But the bad news is that college application fees can really add up if you apply to a dozen or more schools. You could be looking at spending hundreds of dollars on these fees.
You might be able to find some colleges and universities that will waive your fee based on your specific financial situation. Don’t be afraid to look into obtaining a waiver for a college application fee.
But otherwise, you might have no choice but to bite the bullet and pay college application fees. And you might need to think about limiting the number of schools that you apply to because of the fees that you’ll have to pay.
Get Ready to Take Part in College Interviews in the Near Future
There are some colleges and universities that will take a look at the application that you send to them and then immediately let you know if they’re going to accept it or reject it. But there are others that will take things a step further and ask you to come in to their schools for interviews.
If you’re ever asked to go to a college or university for an interview, you should take it seriously. You should treat it like you would a job interview and prepare yourself accordingly for it.
You should wear something appropriate to your college interview. You should also check out the article linked here to get some information on the kinds of questions you might face at a college interview.
See If There Are Scholarships, Grants, or Financial Aid You Qualify For Through Colleges and Universities
We probably don’t need to tell you this, but going to college can be very expensive. It costs about $35,000 on average for a student to go to college for a single year. That adds up to well over $100,000 for those students who attend college for four years.
With this in mind, you should always make it your mission to see if you might qualify for:
- Financial aid
Applying for grants can save you a lot of money and allow you to earn a college degree for much less than you would have to pay otherwise.
Take Each of These Steps When Applying for College
Applying for college can be very exciting. But it can be very challenging if you’re not prepared to do it.
You should remember each of the steps listed here while you’re applying for college and make sure that you follow along with them. They’ll lead you in the right direction and give you the chance to get accepted at your dream colleges and universities.
Would you like to learn more about applying for college and all that it entails? Browse through the other articles posted on our blog to get some more great advice.