For most high schoolers, the beginning of the school year is a time for adjustment and relaxed learning. For seniors, the past few months have been filled with applications, essays, scholarships and more, as they go through the process of applying for college.
As the application process is time consuming, many students start working on applications the summer before senior year starts. However, the overall preparation begins even further back. By the time students start filling out applications, they should have their necessary test scores, like the SAT, ACT, and AP, though AP scores are optional. At this point, it is also necessary to have a list of colleges that you plan to apply to, and research done on those schools (cost, requirements, area, etc.) is very helpful. Other preparation like community service, extracurriculars, and applying for scholarships, is done over the course of high school.
College and Career counselor, Emily Nichols says “Scholarships [are] always on the to-do list, even once you start college, there’s still money out there.”
As previously stated, many students start working on applications during the summer. This provides plenty of time to thoroughly fill them out, as well as write essays for said applications. As recommended, students generally apply to multiple colleges, so starting the process early is beneficial.
Having a plan of when to apply and knowing your college’s deadlines is vital. While it’s best to apply in the fall for colleges, it’s OK if you’re running behind. Many schools allow late applications, some all the way up through summer.
“If you apply early decision, typically in October or November, you’ll be compared among a smaller applicant pool and can benefit from higher acceptance rates” writes Mercy Yang of Accredited Schools Online.
Though beneficial, students are required to attend the school they applied for through early decision. Early action applications are also due in the fall, however, enrollment is not required. Regular applications are also a viable option and are due in January, however applying at this time means more applicants, thus a smaller chance of being accepted. Lastly, rolling applications are applications that are taken at any time.
The window for seniors to apply to most colleges started on August 1, so those wanting to get a speedy decision should apply soon. Thanksgiving Break is a great time to get caught up on those college applications.
“They need to have already submitted, or be ready to submit…A lot of kids wait until Thanksgiving break” says Emily Nichols.
So seniors, if you haven’t applied yet, or you’re struggling with the process, don’t shy from asking for help. Meetings with your counselors are still available.