While there isn’t a definitive “How to Apply for College” user’s manual, there are certain resources in place – including scholarships, mentoring programs and other tools – that will help in your quest to achieve the dream of a post-high school education.
Reality Changers is an advocate for disadvantaged youth in the San Diego metro region. We help prepare young students for college and beyond. But one of the first steps to realizing those dreams is figuring out how to apply to college. Our experience gives us an inside perspective on scholarship resources and the college application process.
In a nutshell, here’s how to apply for college.
Pre-application word to the wise: always double-check your spelling, grammar and punctuation. Even if you’re not an eventual English major, it pays to literally dot all of your I’s and cross your T’s. Admission representatives (which sometimes include current and past professors) will carefully examine your admission paperwork (application, essay, supplemental material, etc.), and an error-free application just might make the difference between you and a similarly qualified applicant.
Proper steps to apply for college:
- Fill out the application completely. Carefully complete the entire application. If you have any questions, contact an admissions representative first. They can help clarify any concerns you might have. Some college applications have a confusing layout, and you may be unsure which information to include, or where to put it. If there’s any confusion at all, ask first! University admission program employees are glad to help!
- Compile your portfolio. Essentially, this is all the documentation that explains what you’ve doing during your high school career. Employment history, community awards, athletic achievements and more – many colleges require a portfolio to supplement your initial application.
- Write your admissions essay. While not all higher learning institutions require an admissions essay, some do. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the subject matter (usually yourself and your eventual career path), and – similar to your college application – ask if there’s any uncertainty about the essay!
- Conduct any required interviews. While interviews are mostly reserved for graduate programs, a small face-to-face meeting might be required. Remember, this interview is a chance to separate yourself from other applicants, so dress for success!
When to Apply For College
How to apply for college is an important question. But there’s another part of this important process that’s often overlooked, and it has to do with the well-known saying, “timing is everything.” So when should you apply for college? Is it ever too early (or too late) to apply for college and gain scholarship resources?
It’s common knowledge that the summer before your senior year is an ideal time to start applying for college. During this time, you should start narrowing your final list of colleges. Once your senior year begins, connect with your guidance counselors to ensure you’re meeting all the required deadlines and you have all of your application materials in order.
Before the halfway point of your senior year – preferably before the holiday break – you should have all of your college applications sent off for processing. Don’t worry if you don’t receive any acceptance letters by February or early March; for many colleges and universities, this is their “busy season,” and your answer(s) will come soon enough! By April, you should know which colleges have accepted you. The only thing left is to choose a school!
We hope this information about how to apply for college is beneficial with your upcoming educational journey. Thanks for visiting Reality Changers!